Since Palestinians require Israeli government permission to travel between the two separate areas of Palestine – the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-ruled West Bank – Israeli authorities arrested Azzam, who had not obtained the necessary permit, at a security checkpoint. They then deported her to her home territory and forbade her return to Bethlehem. This, despite the fact that Azzam had nearly completed her studies.

The film follows Azzam’s increasingly desperate legal battle to have this ruling overturned lest she be deprived of her all-important degree.

Another student describes the tragic fate that befell her family when they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong moment and were mistaken for terrorists by Israeli soldiers. Her ultimate response to this wrenching misfortune, however, strikes a hopeful note and provides an uplifting example of Christian witness.

Scenes of real-life violence and potentially upsetting subject matter preclude endorsement for children, who are obviously unlikely to be interested anyway. But this otherwise unobjectionable study presents a valuable and enlightening educational opportunity for teens and their elders.

Screenings of “Across the Divide,” which had its premiere in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 3, have been scheduled for Toronto Sept. 5 and Ottawa, Ontario, Sept. 19. The date for a showing in Windsor, Ontario, has yet to be scheduled. U.S. screenings are planned for the near future. For more information, go to

The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.