NFB

Now Streaming: Wall Is an Animated Odyssey through the West Bank

David Hare explores political divides in NFB doc

3 mins read

Audiences who were wowed by the TIFF hit Flee would be smart to catch the NFB film Wall for another compelling slice of animated documentary. Wall is now available to stream at NFB.ca. Directed by Cam Christiansen and narrated by playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter David Hare (The Hours), it’s is a provocative road trip along the barrier wall that separates Israel and Palestine. The film expands upon an audio play by Hare that considers the ongoing implications of the barrier in the West Bank, and the human rights abuses it inspires. The odyssey tours one of the most politically fraught and volatile territories on the planet.

The film features footage shot in the Middle East along with motion-capture re-enactments shot in London. Christiansen and his team then interpret Hare’s monologue visually and animate the live action and documentary footage to capture the subjective experience of being in a land defined by conflict and enclosure. The effect captures the conflict in the West Bank from competing viewpoints as Hare and his fellow travellers consider if this area will ever see peace.

“Hare lives up to his reputation as one of the great contemporary political dramatists,” I wrote while reviewing the film during its theatrical run. “His observations are rooted in research and historical precedents, particularly in putting the Israel/Palestine wall in conversation with the Berlin Wall. Hare muses that the current barrier, which aims to keep people out, is like the flip side of the Berlin Wall, which aimed to keep people in. It’s all a question of perspective as governments create garrison-like barriers that rob people of dignity and make citizens prisoners of their own corrupt ideology.”

Watch Wall below from the NFB.

Synopsis: Preeminent UK playwright and screenwriter David Hare—whom The Washington Post referred to as “the premiere political dramatist writing in English”—writes and stars in this innovative animated feature that explores the reality of the wall separating Israel and Palestine as no film has before. Rich with rhythmic, raw imagery, the film is framed by Hare’s journey, as both his heart and mind are shaken by the incongruities and contradictions of life in the shadow of the wall.

WALL, Cam Christiansen, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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