Near the West Bank’s Gush Etzion Junction — between Jerusalem and Hevron — Ali Abu Awwad dedicates his family’s field as a Palestinian Center for Non-Violence. Despite a life filled with pain and conflict — his four years in an Israeli prison, his drive-by shooting by an Israeli, his mother’s five-year prison sentence, his brother’s death at the hands of an Israeli soldier — Ali creates the organization Roots with local Israeli settlers to advance responsibility and to promote the grassroots work necessary for political reconciliation. “The Field” director Mordechai Vardi — a resident of the Gush Etzion Bloc, a cluster of Israeli settlements — accompanies members of the Roots initiative for two-and-a-half years and documents the changes transpiring on both sides. The film’s chronicle includes a 2015 wave of violence at Gush Etzion Junction during the “Intifada of Knives,” a fraught period during which the peace activists must confront the reality of their own relatives being attacked. Beautifully shot and well paced, “The Field” unsettles and often upsets, with its everyday scenes of living in a militarized zone proving both moving and chilling.
Film CategoryHuman Rights Spotlight Interfaith Competition International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television Middle Eastern Focus