The 2 November this year marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – 100 years since Britain signed over a country that it did not own, displacing nearly a million people at the time. It’s one of the most crucial points in modern British history, yet any mention of the word “Balfour” is met with vacant stares and awkward coughs. Nobody seems to have heard of this mysterious Balfour (“Wasn’t he a Victorian poet?”) and his declaration (“Wasn’t that in Harry Potter?”)- do you know what the Balfour declaration was? Do you know anything about Balfour himself?
100 Balfour Road, an 11 minute short-film, seeks to educate the population on the Balfour declaration and what it meant for the Palestinian people in simple, close-to-home terms. The film itself is a metaphor, shown through the parallel modern-day example of the Joneses, an ordinary family living in suburban in London who are booted out of their home by soldiers and forced to live in appalling conditions in their back yard. Another family, the Smiths, take over the house and, with the support of the soldiers, mistreat and abuse the Joneses, depriving them of food, medicine and their basic human rights.
By using an all British cast and a typical British setting, the film is able to both strike a chord with its audience and inform them of the history of the Balfour Declaration and the devastating effect it had on ordinary people living in Palestine.
I, not knowing much about the subject at hand, left the screening feeling overwhelmed with sadness and empathy for all those affected by this tragic event. The film presents itself in such a way that it makes audiences realise it could have been them, it could have been their family, it could have been their loved ones. It could have been anyone, and it was many people, yet their struggles have been seemingly erased from memory.
100 Balfour Road packs a small but strong punch, educating and entertaining through its clever plotline and effective cinematography – not to mention the heart-wrenching acting.
Everybody from young children to adults, teenagers, older generations and every age in between should watch the film when it’s released later this month. I would recommend having some tissues handy because this film is sure to tug at your heart strings and turn on the water works – and for good reason too.