DEVIL’S DRIVERS, THE
(director/writer: Daniel Carsenty, Mohammed Abugeth; cinematographer: Daniel Carsenty; editor: Laia Prat; music:Henning Fuchs; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Daniel Carsenty:XTR/Mark It Zero; 2021-France/Germany/Lebanon/Occupied Palestinian Territory/Qatar/Israel–in Arabic with English subtitles)
“The fine documentary clearly shows that when people can’t live in peace and safety there are bad repercussions to be expected.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A political documentary set in the hot climate of the Middle-East, that’s co-directed and written by German filmmaker Daniel Carsenty (“After Spring Comes Fall”) and the West Bank Arab Mohammed Abugeth, who met in Germany and became friends. The film reacts to the Israeli government’s policy for long prison terms and destroying the houses of those caught smuggling Bedouins in the Negev desert into Israel proper for jobs. The filmmakers oppose this Israeli policy as being too harsh and not caring that the men need the jobs to support their families but of only thinking of them as possible terrorists.
We follow two Bedouin cousins whose task is smuggling laborers from the West Bank across border to work illegally in Israel.
The film begins in 2012. We learn that Hamouda and his cousin Ismail, a former shepherd, are paid by would-be laborers without documents to drive (in specially maintained cars for desert travel over rough roads) them across the desert cross the border into Israel proper. The journey means trying to elude the vigilant IDF patrols, always concerned about Palestinian terrorists. If the smugglers are caught, they will face prison time and their cars will be taken. To legally cross the border a work permit issued by Israel is needed. But these permits are hard to get.
After over eight years of footage, the guerilla filmmaking has caught on film some beautiful desert vistas and has given the outsider a chance to get a true close look at how grim things can be there for the Palestinians as a result of its ongoing feud with an Israel that worries about its safety.
The fine documentary clearly shows that when people can’t live in peace and safety there are bad repercussions to be expected. That the Devil’s Drivers is told from the Palestinian perspective allows the western viewer to get a realistic idea what they are facing in their daily lives under the occupation and how this will only continue unless both sides can make peace with each other
It played at the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2021.
REVIEWED ON 12/28/2021 GRADE: B+