WINNER OF THE JURY PRIZE AT THE 2014 DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.
THIS SCREENING IS PART OF ARAB SPRING/ARAB FALL, CURATED BY ZEINA ZAHREDDINE.
An elderly Palestinian couple’s rundown home in the Roshmia Valley, close to the Israeli city of Haifa, is the scene for a slowly unfolding tragedy. Yousef and Amna have lived in their tumbledown place, constructed of corrugated iron and canvas sheets, for more than 50 years. It is a humble existence with no running water or electricity. As the city of Haifa expands, eating the surrounding countryside, two new major projects are planned including the construction of a nearby road. Change is on its way, and it is well nigh unstoppable. Yousef and Amna vow that they won’t be moved. “Even if the entire government of Israel comes, I’m not going to leave my home,” he states. The evacuation of the valley extends not only to the physical, but also to the erasure of the original Aramaic name of the place. (It is renamed in honour of the Battalion 22 of the Haganah, responsible for ethnic cleansing in April, 1948.)
Made over six years, the conflict between occupation and displacement is embodied in the struggle between this aged couple and the full weight of the City administration. DOXA’ s guest curator Zeina Zahreddine writes about the film in her essay: “As the ‘Palestinian Superhero’ idea is replaced by the reality of an elderly frustrated couple, the film becomes a rare piece of authenticity where merciless action is undertaken by those in power as easily as washing ones’ hands.” The final confrontation is brutal, fast, and heartbreaking. But what comes afterwards is almost worse. -DW