Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Human Rights Watch Film Festival Spotlight: 200 Meters

200 Meters
Directed by Ameen Nayfeh
Screening Information

Distance is an often subjective concept, dependent almost entirely on the ease of travel between points and the freedom of movement. If a person is able to get back and forth to see friends or relatives without any difficulty, the time it takes or the miles in between may not matter. But when people are not free to move as they wish and must take extraordinary measures to reach even an incredibly close destination, any type of separation can be unbearable. Such distance invariably affects relationships and shapes a person’s attitude towards the world and particularly towards the people or entity they blame for its existence.

This film is the only narrative selection among the ten films showing as part of this year’s festival, and surely one that has attracted more attention given the violence and unrest in Israel and Gaza in recent weeks. This story of a Palestinian man, Mustafa (Ali Suliman), who lives in a village only 200 meters from his wife Salwa (Lana Zreik) and their children on the other side of the West Bank barrier wall, is one that focuses primarily on one man and what he is willing to do for his family. While it clearly advocates for Palestinian self-determination and the rights of citizens who cannot move freely, it goes beyond casting the Israeli government and military as the only bad actors, showcasing how many seize on opportunity to take advantage of others in a miserable situation. Mustafa’s humanity is what shines through most in this thought-provoking and affecting drama.


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