Ameen Nayfeh’s first film “200 meters”: the hell of a Palestinian family separated by the wall of Israel

200 metersis the distance that separates Mustafa from his wife Salwa and his three children. It is not much, but the father of the family encounters all the difficulties in the world in traversing them to find his family. With this first film, in theaters on June 9, 2021, the Palestinian director and screenwriter delves into the daily life of a family forced to live apart, the father in the West Bank, his wife and his three children on the other side of the wall, in Israel.

Every morning Mustafa, who lives with his mother, gets up, and like thousands of Palestinian workers leaving to work on the Israeli side, he waits and lets himself be carried by a compact crowd to the Israeli police checkpoint. To pass, you need valid papers and a work permit. Mustafa could take Israeli citizenship, and everything would become easier. But he refuses to do so.

It’s difficult, tensions are felt in the couple, but Mustafa and Salwa make sure to give their children a “normal” life despite the brutality and absurdity of their daily life. Every evening, it is a ritual, Mustafa calls his children and his wife. They look at each other from a distance, and say goodnight while playing to turn on and off the lights of their respective apartments. Mustafa and Salwa resist as best they can, until the day when an accident pushes the very respectful of the laws Mustafa to embark on a dangerous equipped in clandestine taxi, with on board a strange troop …

The camera never leaves a Mustafa sole, taking us through the upheavals of his unthinkable odyssey, until we are suffocated with him in the dark chest where he is locked with his companions in misfortune to pass the checkpoints.

With this first film in the form of a road movie, Ameen Nayfeh chooses to post his camera on the Palestinian side, showing at human height the complexity and the absurdity of the situation, the incredible difficulties to move, and the complications for carry out the smallest daily gestures, go to work, offer their children a “normal” life, with family evenings or football courses …

“The images of the Wall, the checkpoints or the soldiers are probably what pops up first when talking about Palestine. Although these images are in the film, I preferred to focus on what a separation does at home. us, as human beings, and shed a little more light on these invisible barriers and walls rather than the physical barriers. “

Ameen Nayfeh

director of “200 meters”

This debut film by Ameen Nayfeh, inspired by her own story, suggests rather than highlights the Israeli state violence, shown here in detail, in the harassments of everyday life, and in the restrictions on freedom suffered day after. day by the Palestinian population. A reality shown from the inside, almost from the bottom of Mustafa’s eyes, who speaks little, but whose face expresses all the heaviness of the situation, which weighs like a burden on his broken back, while some, on one side like the other, profit and get richer on the backs of the poorest.

The character of Anne, a young German documentary filmmaker on board the clandestine minibus, for her part embodies the confused look and full of good feelings, but necessarily beside the plate, of the West.

Anna Unterberger in "200 meters", by & nbsp; Ameen Nayfeh, June 2021 (SHELLAC FILMS)

Ali Suliman, leading role in Paradise Now, the first Palestinian film to win the Golden Globe for best foreign film in 2004, offers here in a game while restraining an impressive scale and presence to the beautiful character of Mustafa. The gallery which surrounds it is also well served by committed and convincing actors.

At a time when tensions have resumed in the occupied territories, Ameen Nayfeh’s film, Audience Award at the Venice Film Festival, sheds light on a human scale, without discourse, on a situation that is increasingly difficult to understand, like this infinite, gray wall, omnipresent in the film, which prevents life from circulating.

Movie poster "200 meters", by & nbsp; Ameen Nayfeh, June 2021 (SHELLAC FILMS)

Gender: Drama
Director: Ameen Nayfeh
With: Ali Suliman, Anna Unterberger, Lana Zreik, Motaz Malhees, Mahmoud Abu Eita
Country: Palestinian, Jordanian, Qatari, Swedish, Italian
Duration: 1h37
Exit : June 9, 2021
Distributor: Shellac
Synopsis: Mustafa on one side, Salwa and the children on the other, a family lives apart on either side of the Israeli Wall just 200 meters away. They resist every day with all the cunning and tenderness necessary to “live” like everyone else, when a serious incident upsets this ephemeral balance. To find his wounded son on the other side, the father embarks on an odyssey through the checkpoints, passenger in an underground minibus where the destinies of each come up against the most absurd obstacles.

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