Muhanad Salahat*

More than 25 years have passed on the collapse of the Berlin Wall that had partitioned the world into two different ideological blocks. With such a collapse, Europe had eliminated the East and West complex.

Nonetheless, many walls around the world are still segregating the states and peoples and draw lines between cultures and nations. Some of them are visible and made from cement, steel, sand, and barbwires while many others are not visible because they are built within us. Such divisions have become a feature for our age, and an ongoing controversy in forming the features of the modern age, which is an affluent place with conflicts and ethnic, racial, religious, and ideological divisions and others.


Before the walls and the increasing man-made partitions segregating humans (Al Jazeera)

The Berlin Wall collapsed to remind us that the world is passionate about the wall concept, and it tends to heighten it. This is as if the "investors" of Berlin Wall used the rubble to heighten existing walls or think about building others.

Throughout this long film (85 minutes), the Italian film directors Francesco Conversano and Nene Grignaffini try to preview the forming and changing life around these walls. They turned the walls into stories about men and women who spend the night in Nogales on the Mexican- American border and in Mitrovista that divides the Serbs and the Albanians in Kosovo. These walls contribute to form the lives, minds, and hearts of those who live on both sides.

The directors' draw a comparison between two models throughout the film: The long border line 3200 km between Arizona in USA and Mexico, and a bridge that divides the Serbs and the Albanians in Kosovo. They are examples of the increasing man-made walls and partitions that divide humans.

Walls are not built because we want to protect our houses, to hang our portraits and dried fruit, nor to lean our backs against them. Rather, they are built for one sole purpose: I build a wall because I don't want to see your face

The time of the events in the film doesn't exceed two days on each side of the world. Over one day and night, the directors created a story for a group of men and women waiting in Nogales- Sonora (Mexico) to be smuggled into USA. On the other side in Arizona, the story ensued in a prison for illegal immigrants. Then the story advanced to the dividing desert where a group of patriots are patrolling the borders to curb smuggling attempts. Also there, the story talks about a volunteering couple roaming the borders to give out drinking water to those who successfully manage to cross the border.

Similar to the events of the first story, the incidents of the other story are taking place on the other side of the world in Mitrovista. The events occur over a day period and along a bridge that divides two ethnicities. There are also interrelated stories of both Serbs and Albanians of Kosovo where a bridge divides a town into two parts. The northern side is for the Serbs, and southern side is for the Albanian Muslim majority.

There are two elderly people who lost their home during the war, and now they are trying to cross to the other side of the bridge to see their occupied home. With the same fear, the Muslim taxi driver risks his life daily to cross the bridge to the northern side.

Invisible walls
Interesting everyday stories from Mitrovista stand as a witness on the hatred, memory, conflicts and the old racial anonymities. The walls came to keep these hard feelings alive and eternal in the wake of this partition which directors refer to as invisible walls or the hatred walls.

Walls are not built because we want to protect our houses, to hang our portraits and dried fruit, nor to lean our backs against them. Rather, they are built for one sole purpose: I build a wall because I don't want to see your face.

Dramatic stories in Mitrovista, the Balkan, stand as witnesses on the repercussions of hatred (Al Jazeera)

Besides its documentary value, the film has a high artistic value. Despite it uses long takes that usually purports a slow pace, it has carefully moved between long takes and smoothly moved from one scene to another. This was achieved through rotational motions in the camera moves through using different angles or changing the size of the take. This didn't affect the pace of the film, time, and its acceleration.

Smoothness means sleekness of the event in the construction of the scene. That is, each take is driven by the topic and its orientation, and the rotation in the filming angles.

The directors also used the internal voice in the film by using the voice commentary in the documentary film, which comes from outside the film structure, as an assisting explanatory factor. Meanwhile, the direct sound effects or direct interviews are voices that come from within the film.

Therefore, it would have a more significant impact. The directors, here, have substituted the external voice with the internal one that better carries the feelings of the interviewees on both sides of the borders.
      
 * A Palestinian writer from Sweden

Source : Aljazeera