Budrus

Ayed Morrar joined Fatah as a youth and was jailed for the first of five times in 1981, at the age of nineteen. By the start of Julia Bacha's most recent film, he has become the leader of a truly popular, nonviolent movement in Budrus, a West Bank village of 1,500. Morrar organizes villagers to stop the construction of a security wall that would run along Palestinian territory, encircling Budrus, and cutting off villagers' access to their own land. Bacha chronicles a movement that starts with a group of men running to their fields at midnight to block bulldozers from destroying their olive trees, and blossoms quickly into a wider campaign, incorporating a group of young women led by Morrar's daughter Altozam. Shortly, the village's plight is making international headlines, uniting not only members of Fatah and Hamas under the banner of nonviolence, but also bringing together Palestinians and Israelis. The film's camera operators stand among the protesters and soldiers, daringly capturing footage as rubber bullets, tear gas, and eventually live ammunition are used in attempts to disperse the crowds or incite them to violence. Bacha intercuts interviews with villagers, activists, and soldiers into the film's tensest moments, providing a number of points of view on the turbulent events. The film movingly extends Bacha's concern with examples of reconciliation, picking up where her recent documentary Encounter Point (SFIFF 2006) left off; as Israelis and Palestinians stand together in front of Israeli soldiers and bulldozers, the possibilities of living together peacefully become vividly imaginable.

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