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"Encounter Point" moves beyond sensational and canned images to tell the story of an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian bereaved brother who sacrifice their safety, public standing and homes in order to press for a grassroots movement for nonviolence and peace. Written by
Ronit Avni and Julia Bacha
A cinematic encounter with the Middle East conflict
Israel-Palestine is a region which the West knows far too little about. About its very complex history, but also about the people and their everyday worries. This documentary follows Jewish and Palestinian (Muslim and Christian) peace activists who have lost relatives in the conflict -- through suicide bombers, snipers, trigger-happy soldiers or just as plain "collateral damage". They know how terrible it is to lose a loved one and want to spare others the same misery. The glass eye of the camera follows them around in a plain, fly-on-the-wall (cinéma vérité) approach. They include the dreaded "activist mother" as well as a bull-necked former soldier, a future assistant mayor and a would-have-been bomb builder. What makes them so appealing is that they are normal, diverse people on a difficult mission.
One scene shows us a group of Israelis visiting a group of Palestinians in the occupied territory; the Israelis chicken out and want to change the location, their Palestinian go-between becomes annoyed and, like a stroppy child, refuses to talk to them on the phone. When they finally meet, the Israeli group leader chides him: "If only you would have talked to me, we could have cleared this up in five minutes!". In another scene, an Israeli mother challenges settlers with advocating Apartheid. A settler mother responds that if she wants them to give up the settlement, this means digging up all their dead. A Palestinian woman describes how a settler has smashed all her windows in order to get her family to abandon their home.
Scenes like these convey more emotional information than long essays. This is what makes this documentary so gripping to watch.
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