Frederick Wiseman – Sinai Field Mission (1978)


SINAI FIELD MISSION shows the routine activities of the diplomats and electronics technicians who operate the U.S. Sinai Field Mission, the early warning system established in 1976 to help facilitate the disengagement between Egypt and Israel after the 1973 war. The major purpose of the Mission is to monitor the approaches to strategic passes and to verify the operations of the Egyptian and Israeli surveillance stations in the Sinai Buffer Zone.

Far from playing at an alluring game of espionage, the 163 U.S. personnel stationed in a critical area of the buffer zone between Israeli and Egyptian territories seriously envision and perform their role in tandem with the UN as a peace-keeping referee — seeing that the hostile parties abide by the stringent rules of limited personnel and restricted activity within this free zone… this is a fascinating keyhole examination of an unusual facet of U.S. institutions for students of international relations, political science, government, and psychology at the college level and for followers of Wiseman’s work in public library and college programs.’

–Irene Wood, Booklist

Wiseman gives us a community. We sense the isolation, the harsh climate, the numbing drudgery of the paperwork… by filming the story of Sinai Field Mission from the inside out, by incorporating all of the elements that make it up rather than a rote narrative of what it does and how it came to be, Frederick Wiseman has once again brought an issue into focus. And we know and care a little bit more because of it.

–James Brown, Los Angeles Times


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