Machssomim, (Checkpoint)

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Average Rating: 4/5

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An ambulance is stopped, and the sick people inside brought out to explain their ailments. A mother is separated from her very young children. Young Palestinians laugh and throw snowballs at Israeli soldiers, who jovially respond in kind. One Israeli soldier harasses a pretty Palestinian girl. Another refers to the Arabs as "animals," and suggests the documentary crew is making a film for the Discovery Channel. Palestinians wait in the pouring rain while an Israeli soldier eats his lunch. Another young soldier gets into a prolonged argument with a Palestinian man because he'd told the man an hour earlier that he would be able to cross back over the checkpoint to return home, and now a curfew is in effect. After his superior reluctantly lets the man through, the embarrassed soldier turns to the filmmaker and pleads, "Try to make me look good...not like the bad guy." Language barriers constantly interfere with the soldiers' ability to do their jobs. "It's not my decision," is a constant refrain as they turn people away. Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir once served his army reserve duty as a checkpoint guard, which was what inspired him to make this documentary, Checkpoint. For 80 minutes, Shamir simply shows us videotape of what happens at the various checkpoints that the Israeli government operates, which are in place to regulate the travel of Palestinians, purportedly in an effort to combat terrorism. The documentary uses no narration, and the soldiers and Palestinians at the checkpoints are never identified. The subtitles simply tell the audience where the checkpoint being videotaped is located. Checkpoint was shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York at New Directors/New Films in 2004. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Machssomim, (Checkpoint)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

  • Remarkably, the depiction of the indignities suffered by the Palestinians is untainted by rhetorical excess or heavy-handed editorializing.

    Sep 29, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Of all Israeli films on this subject, this is the most unbiased and honest and also one of the most valuable.

    Jan 6, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • This grueling Israeli documentary filmed in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip leaves you infuriated and mystified.

    Apr 7, 2004 | Rating: 2/5
  • Tells an interesting story without imposing an authoritative voice on the film

    Apr 14, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Checkpoint adds a a whole other dimension to the debate over civil liberties by letting its unflinching footage speak for itself.

    Oct 9, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Checkpoint is an unflinchingly honest Israeli documentary about the humiliations of the Palestinians every day and the pressures on the occupying soldiers.

    Mar 31, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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