The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been under Israeli military authority since 1967. Palestinians, when traveling from one village or city to another, must pass through checkpoints created to protect Israelis from suicide bombers. There are now over 200 roadblocks.
With financial assistance from the Israeli government’s New Foundation for Cinema and TV, documentary director Yoav Shamir brings a compassionate, unblinking eye to the life that unfolds before him at the checkpoints. Employing classical cinema verité style, and a high-tech camera to minimize his presence, the filmmaker uses the fact that he is a young Israeli male to his advantage, thus making it easier to approach the soldiers with remarkable intimacy.
The roadblocks are the first meeting point between two sides of the conflict, a crucial zone with rules and laws of its own. On the Israeli side, young soldiers still in their adolescence find themselves faced with impossible situations. On the Palestinian side, the day-to-day struggle and humiliation they endure as they pass through the roadblock fuels the hatred towards their Israeli neighbors. The camera captures moments both trivial and charged, rolling day after day through rain, mud, snow -- the experience of time passing in the film is nearly a physical one.
Much has been written about the corruption of the conqueror brought about by extended occupation. The cumulative effect of these daily encounters, which is forced upon both sides, appears unbearable. The reality of the checkpoints illustrates in shockingly tangible scenes that intimidation and compassion are curiously arbitrary.
-- Janis Plotkin
From 2008 Festival: Director, Israel
Yoav Shamir is graduate of the Tel-Aviv University Film Department, his debut film
'Marta&Luis' appeared in festivals in Edinburgh (2001), Tel-Aviv (2002) and Berlin
His second film, "Checkpoint" was a huge success winning awards such as: Joris
Ivens Award (IDFA), Best international feature documentary film Festival 2004). The film participated in over 40 festivals receiving high praise. His next documentary made in 2005, "5 days", participated in IDFA, Sundance Festival, Hot Docs among others.