Over three million Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli military authority since 1967. Israeli director Yoav Shamir documents the impact of the enforced boundaries known as “checkpoints” on the Israeli border guards drafted to monitor them and the Palestinian citizens who must pass through them daily.
Shot in a cinema verite style, a style of documentary filmmaking that stresses unbiased realism, the film shows these anonymous, one-time encounters between both sides and the lasting political, social and cultural effects. Checkpoint gives a chilling look at the destructive impact on both societies.
This movie is riveting. I can only call the treatment of the Palestinians trying to get through the checkpoint humiliating (and shocking). The woman are harassed and the men are abused. The border guards fair no better in system that places these young men in situations beyond their training or capacity for judgement.
It is a real-time tragedy unfolding on the screen, full of hapless players, endless conflict, and implied ripples for generations. When the old Palestinian heads for the border line saying “Shoot me” you wonder how far it will go. If you love freedom, this movie is painful.