May 28




Director: Dror Moreh

Runtime: 1h76m

Synopsis: There was a time when peace appeared to be just within reach. What went so horribly wrong?


From the Oscar®-nominated director, Dror Moreh of The Gatekeepers (2012) comes the untold, behind-the-scenes story of the United States’ 30-year effort to secure peace in the Middle East, told from the perspective of the American negotiators.

THE HUMAN FACTOR is the behind-the-scenes story of the Israeli-Arab peace process told from a unique perspective: that of the American mediators – the peacemakers who shuttled between Middle East capitals, spending hours with the region’s political heavyweights – prime ministers, generals, ex-terrorists, diplomats, dictators and presidents, the people that gained intimate knowledge of the individuals and stories which dominated daily news around the world. The negotiators speak candidly about their experiences. Rich and exposing portraits of world leaders are portrayed as we learn what went on behind closed doors in meetings between U.S. presidents, Israeli, Palestinian, and Syrian leaders. What we observe, for the first time, are first-hand impressions of events that shook the world – not from the perspectives of the conflicting parties involved, or that of politicians who care about their legacy, but from senior civil servants, the negotiators. It is their function to observe, relate, maintain neutrality, and convince both sides of the pressing necessity to resolve decades of brutal violence and turmoil. There was a time when peace appeared to be just within reach. What went so horribly wrong?
Today, the need to learn from past mistakes couldn’t be more urgent.

This riveting documentary film, which chronicles three decades of failed attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, is another impressive piece of work from Israeli director Dror Moreh, whose previous documentary, the Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers (2012), was remarkable for its candid interviews with six former heads of Israel’s security organisation, Shin Bet.

His equally bold move in The Human Factor is to tell the story of the peace initiatives – in particular the Clinton years of the1990s – not from the mouths of international leaders such as Palestine’s Yasser Arafat, US President Bill Clinton and a succession of Israeli Prime Ministers, but from the ‘back room boys’ who have to do the behind-the-scene negotiations that prepare the way for the formal signing of treaties and protocols.

Moreh makes excellent use of thousands of –mostly – black-and-white photographs of all the proceedings, as well as archive footage and revealing interviews with six of the negotiators.

Moreh succeeds at two levels in that he gives a detailed account of the ups and downs of the 1990s negotiations, whilst painting a general picture of the rules and conventions of the negotiation process, with all its frustrations when parties refuse to compromise.

Six envoys for the American government discuss the ups and downs of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations from the late 1980s to 2000.

Set to be one of the documentaries of the year  and a masterclass in negotiation, in this rare opportunity to look back at history being made, The Human Factor offers an engrossing behind-the-scenes look at efforts to end generations of bloodshed.

Today, the need to learn from past mistakes couldn’t be more urgent.  

In cinemas and streaming online

Images courtesy of DOGWOOF