The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
Almost any attempt to engage with the conflict between Israel and Palestine leads to recriminations being thrown from either side: accusations of anti-Semitism and terrorism from the one, and of human rights abuses and violations of national autonomy from the other. So filmmaker Avi Mograbi decided to take a different approach. He tells the story of the 54 years of Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the form of a how-to guide. Step-by-step, in chronological order, he explains how the military and political machinery works, and how it is used to systematically and completely dominate an entire population.
Mograbi speaks directly to camera, like a teacher, his tone unsentimental and factual. The story he tells is backed up by archive footage that is sometimes shockingly violent. But the confessions of 38 former Israeli conscripts leave an even more indelible impression. The interviewees, invariably filmed against the backdrop of a bookcase or artwork on the wall, talk about the atrocities they committed and later came to regret.
Nominated for the Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award