The god-damned Holy Land. Lynch pin for a planet forever on the brink of total war, strategic key to the vast oil fields that determine world power. Home to two peoples split by misunderstanding, kept apart by 450 miles of concrete and electrified razor wire.
featuring THE ATAR FAMILY OF AVITAL, THE AL-SOUQI FAMILY OF JENIN and ZACHARIA ZUBEIDI
camera MARK ELLAM editor ANDRÉ LAPALME music ANTHONY ROZANKOVIC executive producer GORDON HENDERSON broadcasting producer ROBERT HURST
written, directed and produced by ALEXANDRE TRUDEAU
In THE FENCE, Alexandre Trudeau deconstructs a symbol of the failure of the human spirit, immersing himself in the lives of regular people on both sides of the “security fence” that separates Israel from the West Bank.
First, he spends months working on a family farm in the fecund Yisreel Valley – the land “Planted by God.” Israelis live their dream here, in a modern land carved out of the desert, forged from the crucible of torment. For them, the fence provides relief from the four-year Intifada. It is protection against random and destructive terror.
And life is good. Businesses that might have been bombed to rubble now boom. Children play without fear. Prosperity and peace reign.
But on the other side of the fence, in the West Bank city of Jenin, frustration and nightmares linger. It is a breeding ground for the Intifada.
Trudeau takes the road to Jenin. Checkpoints and tanks turn a short trek into a treacherous all-day journey. On his arrival, shots ring out, as he is initiated at gunpoint into Jenin’s Darwinian street life.
Here, it’s survival of the fittest. Stores that once served both Arab and Jew lay empty, their boarded windows now postered shrines to fallen “martyrs.” Monsters to some. Heroes to those who see the fence as a political prison.
While the old reminisce about better times, the young hustle for the smallest advantage. At the Arab-American University in the hills to the south, students debate the ethics of suicide bombing: “our freedom might cost us our lives,” they say.
The same sun shines on both sides of THE FENCE. And on both sides, opposites want the same things – safety, prosperity, to watch their children play. But as long as people succumb to despair on one side, a bright future will be denied the other. As the Hezbollah rockets and Iranian nuclear ambitions have proven, there is no barrier high enough to guarantee security. Only lasting peace and justice will end the nightmare.
Alexandre Trudeau’s documentary THE FENCE premiered Saturday, September 18th 2004 on CTV.
DVDBuy the film
Includes: The original English language version and the French version MAUDITE TERRE SAINTE.
(U.S. and Canada only.)