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Home page > Review > Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace (19 October 2010)

Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace by Harry Hunkele


The latest salvo in the ongoing sotto voce campaign to rehabilitate the reputation of the Carter administration, Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace had a lengthy delay between completion and screening that rather suggested the festival was about to drop a massive lump of coal. I’m happy to report this isn’t the case. Whilst the film as a whole fails to live up to its exceptionally accomplished opening sequence (which inventively surmises millennia of enmity between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East in a mere 4 minutes ), it remains an original addition to the political documentary canon, although its greatest audience may well be found amongst academics.

It traces the events leading to the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in 1979, focusing on the role played by civil servants and intelligence agents behind the scenes, orchestrating communications and negotiations that could not yet be conducted through official channels. It’s a convoluted tale involving Moroccan royalty and a Romanian dictator, but Hunkele possesses a masterful knowledge of the facts, which, combined with his tasteful eye for archival footage, keeps things on track. Unfortunately, the film is let down by inexplicably clumsy transitions between scenes, as well as by an intrusive score, which annoys more often than it moves.

By Michael O’Regan

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