This documentary provides an even handed examination of the long Wall that the Israelis are building in Palestine. It allows the people living there to speak for themselves.
While the situation is bad for the Palestinians, it is equally appalling for Israelis on the front line. The documentary doesn't attempt to explore solutions.
It examines the personal and cultural costs of severing the Israelis from the Palestinians. Often, the long term social consequences are at odds with the short term political aims. Can the Israelis regain their sanity? Can the Palestinians find compromise? This is one of the defining struggles of the 20th Century.
Postscript November 2005: It is unfortunately that some people don't understand the film's POV. The film-maker chose to focus on the presence of the wall (being built) and its human consequences. This documentary is not about the Arab-Israeli conflict (which stretches back to the British Mandate and earlier); nor about who is right or wrong. That is why it is entitled "The Wall", and not "The Intifada".
Why has she chosen to ignore the roots of the conflict? One obvious reason is that any discussion of politics leads to polarization, which obscures the reality of human suffering.
The Internet is such a powerful enabler. It's a pity that it cannot bestow instant wisdom on IMDb commentators.
Postscript May 2006: What is a documentary? One definition is "A film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event".
Therefore, a documentary has to be non-fictional. Does a documentary have to be analytical? Would a long look at the Wall serve us better than a recital of the antagonists' cases?
In the western tradition, there is a clear sense of right and wrong. We attain enlightenment through a careful analysis of the facts. The truth allows us to judge a case and declare for one claimant over another.
This judgmental approach works when there is a clear difference between right and wrong. For example, the Nazis had to be opposed because they turned German nationalism (rational) into the pathology of ultra-nationalism (irrational). In retrospect, the Nazis are roundly condemned for the consequences of their pathology, though there is blame enough for those who did not oppose the rise of ultra-nationalism.
Western rationality fails in the case of a tragedy, where right opposes right. That is, the right of the Israeli State to exist against the right of displaced Palestinians to return home. No analytical documentary can help us here. No legalist judgement can deliver a 'fair' verdict.
What is the intention of the film-maker? The Wall itself is the symbol of the pathology that has sprung up in the Palestinian-Zionist conflict. Perhaps, empathy will transcend judgement, race, ideology and hatred. Is that focused enough?
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