Encounter Point (2007)

by | Sep 13, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Encounter Point (2007)

Documentary by Ronit Avni
Studio: Justvision [www.justvision.org]
Video: 4:3 full screen, color
Audio: PCM mono, in English, Arabic & Hebrew
Subtitles: English
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: ***(*)

One of the most positive technological breakthrus that has been made in recent years seems to receive little attention.  It is the inexpensive availability of high quality, small and lightweight videocams which can be taken most anywhere and allow documentary features on vital subjects such as this one to be made and seen by mass audiences. Public consciousness about such serious matters as global warming, the health insurance crisis, and the subject of this film is being raised more effectively than ever before.

It will probably be unexpected information to most viewers of this documentary that there are in fact organizations in both Palestine and Israel devoted to finding a peaceful resolution to the long-running and brutal war between their two nations. The film focuses primarily on a quartet of Israelis and a similar group of Palestinians who originally held the typical prejudices against the “enemy” group – exacerbated by either having been shot themselves by someone from the other side and/or having a relative or child killed by them. In spite of the righteous and reasonable anger of all around them, these individuals overcame their prejudices and sought to work together with those on the other side, using elements of the nonviolent approach of Ghandi, Mandala and MLK.

The tragic reality of the Israeli-Palestinian situation is pointed up by visits to locations such as some of the many Israeli checkpoints, including some strictly between Arab areas where there appears no logical reason for them, to the besieged home of an Arab family surrounded by recent Israeli settlers in one of the occupied areas, to the conversations between the parents on both sides who have each had children killed in the conflict – at the Bereaved Families Forum which brings them together. It quickly becomes clear that there isn’t just one standard Israeli viewpoint on the conflict, but a whole range, with some working hard for a peaceful solution. Robi’s son was killed by a Palestinian sniper who is now a folk hero there. He was recently caught and is in prison. Robi wrote a letter to his parents and suggested they meet to talk, and they agreed. She is shown on a tour given by the settlers in one of the occupied territories – The Gaza Strip. She speaks up to them about the parallels she sees between their attitudes and insistence to remain in the Palestinian area, and the language of apartheid in South Africa, where she lived as a child.

While the cameras used are not HD, the image quality of the documentary is good, and although the various voices are not always clear, there are helpful subtitles even for some of the heavily-accented English. However, the film is a bit too heavy on talking-heads-while-driving-cars to get an A+ from me in the cinematography area.  But it’s a heartwarming message of great heroism on the part of all these workers for peace that should be seen by all.

 – John Sunier

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