200 Meters - A Father's Love

200 Meters - A Father's Love

The wall that divides the West Bank between the Palestinian and Israeli territories plays a major role in a new film by Palestinian filmmaker, Ameen Nayfeh, 200 Meters.


Mustafa (Ali Suliman), a Palestinian, works construction in Israeli territory. Every day he takes his work permit and crosses the border for work. Every day, while there, he also visits his wife and children. They live on the Israeli side but even though Mustafa's work would allow him to live there, his convictions do not. He believes the laws of the occupying Israeli government are unjust. So, every evening he re-crosses the border wall to his home, only 200 meters away from where those he loves reside.


The phone exchanges between Mustafa and his children each night show just how dedicated a father he is. He stands on his balcony and can see it when his young daughter flicks the lights off and on from their home. He answers by making his own lights flicker.



Ali Suliman as Mustafa in "200 Meters."  © 2020 Film Movement. All Rights Reserved. 



Mustafa seems to accept the arrangement but his wife, Salwa (Lana Zreik) wishes that he could be with them more often. One of the beauties of this film comes through in just how much these two love each other and are willing to sacrifice for their children.



Ali Suliman and Lana Zreik in "200 Meters."  © 2020 Film Movement. All Rights Reserved. 



One evening, having already returned home, Mustafa receives a phone call. His son has been in an accident and is in the hospital. Rushing to the border to be with his suffering family, he's denied entry on a technicality. Desperate to reach his child, Mustafa looks for other means to cross, doing things he would never otherwise even consider.


Thus begins a journey that takes this father the long way around. It might have been considered the "scenic route" except for the pain gripping his heart.


200 Meters packs a lot of punch being the story of a father's love for his family but also a road trip movie as well as a political thriller. Ali Suliman turns in a powerful performance as Mustafa, as he goes from calm to worried to outright bonkers in his efforts to get to his injured son.



Waiting at the border checkpoint in "200 Meters."  © 2020 Film Movement. All Rights Reserved. 


The film is made even more poignant because writer-director Nayfeh weaves his own experience into the story as well as the experiences his friends have related to him. One friend told Nayfeh, "Before the wall, I used to light a cigarette and I'd be home before it was finished. It's a mere 200 meters away! Going to work now is like traveling around the Cape of Good Hope."


Perhaps the story told in 200 Meters isn't reflective of our own experiences, especially here in North America, although maybe those who live along the US-Mexico border may have experienced something similar. But many of us probably have experienced worry over the health of a loved one. Let's pray for all those unjustly separated from their loved ones, that their suffering may be rewarded one day soon.


200 Meters has limited theatrical release on November 18th and can be found on streaming platforms on December 6th.







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