Tag Archives: States of UnBelonging

Review of States of UnBelonging by Cinequest Festival


States of UnBelonging by Lynne Sachs

Cinequest:  San Jose Film Festival

Screenings March 11 and 12, 2006

What separates each of us from the other? Director Lynne Sachs explores this complex question and others in her haunting new film States of Unbelonging—a beautiful poetic journey that searches for how one person understands another across cultural, historical and political divides.

The two people in question are Sachs herself and Revital Ohayon, an Israeli filmmaker killed by terrorists. Like Sachs, Ohayon was a mother, a filmmaker, a teacher and a Jew. Though she never met Ohayon, Sachs examines the onslaught of modern media that united both artists, mediated through the letters, messages and phone calls exchanged with Israeli friend, Nir Zats. Deeply interested in “history’s histories and raptures,” Sachs embarks on a private journey to ponder issues of identity, violence in the Middle East, and the hope for union, culminating in an unforgettable visit with Ohayon’s grieving family.

Intensely personal yet thoroughly accessible, States of Unbelonging is a profound meditation about living in an unstable world, with the personal densely blurred with the historical. Drawing on a wide variety of forms, from TV coverage to phone messages and film, Sachs has created a challenging, invigorating film-essay that could rank with the multi-layered ruminations of Chris Marker.

Fernando F. Croce

States of UnBelonging

States of UnBelonging
63 min. 2005

The core of this haunting meditation on war, land, the Bible, and filmmaking is a portrait of Revital Ohayon, an Israeli filmmaker and mother killed near the West Bank. Director Lynne Sachs creates a film on the violence of the Middle East by exchanging letters with an Israeli friend. Together, they reveal Revital’s story through her films, news reports, and interviews, culminating in heartbreaking footage of children discussing the violence they’ve witnessed. Without taking sides or casting blame, the film becomes a cine-essay on fear and filmmaking, tragedy and transformation, violence and the land of Israel/Palestine.

RECENT NEWS! Oxford University Press publishes an in-depth analysis of the film in Tim Corrigan’s “The Essay Film – From Montaigne, After Marker”. You can find the book here.

“3 Stars! Presents a mature, artistic meditation on Middle East violence.”  Video Librarian

“Parallels the layers of history of the Middle East – demonstrating the possibilities as well as limitations of bridging the gap between Palestinians and Israelis engaging the politics of conflict.”   Dr. Jeffrey Shandler, Dep’t of Jewish Studies, Rutgers University

“Both humanist reverie and implicit cautionary tale.” Village Voice

This film is currently only available with a password. Please write to info@lynnesachs.com to request access.

For inquiries about rentals or purchases please contact Canyon Cinema, the Film-makers’ Cooperative, or Icarus Films. And for international bookings, please contact Kino Rebelde

Note:  To preview a full length version of this film in English or with Chinese subtitles, please contact director Lynne Sachs at lynnesachs@gmail.com


Bard High School/Early College, Barnard College, Brown University, City University of New York, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown, New York University, Princeton University, University of California, University of Texas & others.