This Way Up

Directed by Georgi Lazarevski

61 minutes / Color
English subtitles
Release: 2010
Copyright: 2008

Just east of Jerusalem, the construction on the wall of separation continues a few meters from a senior citizen's home. Its unavoidable and spectacular progression gradually isolates the residents from the world of the living, as both visitors and staff face more obstacles with each passing day.

A haunting soundtrack of bells and chimes accompanies elderly patients sleeping in wheelchairs, and silhouetted staff members walking down long hallways with glistening floors. In the gardens of Our Lady of Pains, certain individuals continue to protest the barrier wall construction due to feelings of rejection, anger or nostalgic longing for their lost freedom. One man shouts his political views at the television news broadcast in the common room while two women war with each other over songs. Another man savours the sensual momentary pleasures of cigarettes, coffee, and fruit, as he silently strolls through the home, the garden, and the surrounding area.

film still

While presenting the painful sense of despair that rises in the home, THIS WAY UP also captures a sense of levity and hope in its use of rich colours and portrayals of simple pleasures.

"THIS WAY UP is a good film…For those teaching courses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the film can provide an artistic portrait of Palestinian lives that is humanizing of the Palestinian condition."—Anthropology Review Database

"Poignant and profound."—Slant Magazine

"A superb documentary about the effects of politics on everyday lives."—Cynthia Fuchs, Pop Matters

"The unhurried camera shots of the seeming endless cement wall…echoes the angry and futile political commentary made by the bed-ridden and wheel-chair bound patients. Lazareski blends art and life in such a way that the viewer can almost smell the antiseptic halls, the white starch of the nuns, and the suffocating dust from the cement."—Al Jadid

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Select Accolades

  • Grand Prix Documentary, 2009 Tetouan Mediterranean Film Festival (Morocco)
  • Don Quixote Award, 2008 Krakow Film Festival (Poland)
  • 2008 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (New York)
  • 2008 SILVERDOC: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival (Silver Spring, MD.)


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