Jordan’s Oscar submission for Best International Feature, 200 Meters, is a slice-of-life story of a family divided by the wall between Israel and Palestine.
200 Meters is screening at the Human Rights Watch Festival across the US until May 27. Tickets are available here. We also recommend Daughter of a Lost Bird and In the Same Breath, both of which are also screening at the festival.
Get a discount on tickets with the promo code CHANGEHERE21. If the price of buying a ticket to a film would prevent you from participating, please email the following address (email@example.com) for a free ticket code. The festival has set aside a set # of tickets per film on a first come first-served basis. Once the free tickets are no longer available, the code will no longer work.
At Seventh Row, we pride ourselves on seeking out the best hidden gems that nobody’s talking about to ensure that our readers never miss a great film again.
There could hardly be a better time for the Human Rights Watch Festival of New York to screen Ameen Nayfen’s directorial debut, 200 Meters, about life in the West Bank under Israeli occupation. The film is the story of Mustafa (an excellent Ali Suliman), a Palestinian man living in the West Bank with his mother on the other side of the wall from his Israeli-resident wife and children. As the title indicates, they’re just 200 metres away, but it often seems like they’re worlds away.
Mustafa refuses to get a permit to live in Israel, despite this being easy for him to do because of his marital situation, because that would mean tacitly acknowledging the validity of the occupation. This means that Mustafa and his wife, Salwa’s (Lana Zreik), lives are defined by separation, temporary reunions, and a lot of time spent passing through checkpoints. Most of the time, it’s a major nuisance, which can cause Mustafa to queue up for hours in the morning to cross into Israel for work. 200 Meters mostly takes place over fateful Saturday, when he discovers at the border en route to work that his ID card has unexpectedly expired. Then, his son ends up in hospital after a car crash, making the now illegal process of crossing over particularly urgent.
200 Meters is at its best when showing the minutiae of life under occupation: what border crossing looks like, with long queues and businesses popping up to serve those making daily passage, and the high stakes challenge of crossing illegally. Desperate to get to his son, Mustafa decides to attempt an illegal crossing with a smuggler, and many things go wrong along the way. Much of this part of the story is contrived if not plain ridiculous — their passage is first complicated then aided by a German tourist (Anna Unterberger) and filmmaker who decides to come along for the ride — but Suliman grounds it all in one man’s story. It’s incredibly stressful, and yet, it’s also just another day under occupation.
You could be missing out on opportunities to watch great films like 200 meters at virtual cinemas, VOD, and festivals.
Subscribe to the Seventh Row newsletter to stay in the know.
Subscribers to our newsletter get an email every Friday which details great new streaming options in Canada, the US, and the UK.