The Human Factor
Brought to screens by director Dror Moreh, The Human Factor may well be the most powerful and relevant documentary of its time, addressing one of the most underreported peace struggles in 21st century news. The feature-length documentary turns the pages of 30 years of talks and negotiations between Israeli, Palestinian and American political big hitters, hearing firsthand from the mediators from the US, who witnessed and played a part in the key early-stage, high intensity discussions.
The internal workings and game playing of the political world and the naivety surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are thrust to the forefront, and through formidable storytelling the viewer bears witness to the blood, sweat and tears spilt by each party sat at the table in these smoke-filled rooms. The editing from Oron Adar is superb, transporting the audience along a timeline of events through a combination of photography, video footage and analytical diagrams, tied up into one glossy finish that makes the hard-hitting subject matter all the easier to consume and understand. Paired with Eugene Levitas’s swirling score that encapsulates the mood of every scene, the documentary becomes a time-travelling portal containing critical and insightful facts.
It is not only the subject matter that makes this such an engrossing experience, but also the people who are its subject. Through sit-down interviews with various mediators, one not only gains an appreciation for the strain and sleepless nights that must have been endured during the height of key discussions in the 90s, but also begins to consider some thought-provoking questions. One voice says “You can’t ignore the human factor” in negotiations, but in this instance, is it the human factor that will in fact forever prevent a resolute and permanent outcome?
The Human Factor does unfortunately fall into the trap of becoming an historical recital, appearing more chronologic in approach the more the minutes pass – but with Israeli and Palestinian protests and awareness ever more present in Western society, this documentary acts as a timely and necessary reminder. It is a testament to the pain and struggles of those political leaders who invested their administrations into finding a peaceful, long-term solution, and a powerfully illustrated painting of how they failed.
As stated in the film, the prospect of peace in the Middle East is “a very sexy topic” for American politicians – a golden nugget in a presidential legacy – but it’s a challenge they underestimate and evidently don’t know nearly enough about. The same could be said for the rest of the world, but Moreh has created a frightfully eye-opening piece that has the ability to educate the masses through an enthralling lens.
The Human Factor is released in select cinemas on 21st May 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Human Factor here: