Film Threat Online Review of States of UnBelonging



Directed by Lynne Sachs

Review by David Finkelstein


2006, Un-rated, 63 minutes

This haunting film is at once a documentary, a highly personal film essay, and a poetic meditation on the human consequences of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The film tells the story of how Lynne Sachs became gradually drawn into the story of Revital Ohayon, an Israeli filmmaker who lived on a kibbutz directly adjacent to a Palestinian refugee camp, and who was killed, along with her two young sons, by a terrorist in 2002. (To add to the horror of the story, her young husband heard the entire gruesome murder on his phone.) Sachs reads about the story in the New York Times, and begins a correspondence with an ex-film student of hers, Nir Zats, who lives in Israel. It is natural that Sachs is fascinated by the story: like her, Ohayon is a female Jewish filmmaker with young children, trying to make films which address social conflicts. Like her, Ohayon was opposed to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands. (”She believed that peace must pervade,” says her mother.) Ohayon was a fiercely independent thinker, whose films, shown here in fragments, tell stories of women who strongly assert their right to define themselves. Ohayon’s story holds a key to how a woman, a mother, and an artist can find a sane way of living in a world of seemingly irreconcilable conflict and violence.