Another Road Home
Photos and Video
Danae Elon grew up in Jerusalem, the daughter of an American mother and an Israeli father. Although her parents raised her, a Palestinian caretaker named Musa Obeidallah was a constant presence in her house during her childhood and teenage years. Another Road Home chronicles the adult Elon's search for Musa, and her quest to understand the role he played in her life. She finds his sons, one of whom was like a brother to her in her youth, living in Paterson, NJ, the largest Arab-American community in the U.S. Musa originally sent them there to keep them far way from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He himself will not leave his homeland, no matter how much his sons plead with him to join them in the United States. When Musa does come for a visit, Elon reconnects with him, and the two discuss their shared history. Ultimately, the pair travel back to Palestine together. In a reversal of their previous roles, Elon now inhabits Musa's world, learns more about his background and beliefs, and is able with the benefit of maturity to understand their differences and see their relationship in a new light. Another Road Home is a personal story about the emotional and geographical bonds between Palestinians and Israelis, an exploration of shared pasts, and an object lesson in the way individual relationships can help bridge the chasms of misunderstanding between peoples.
Director's Statement Collapse
I saw him in the dining room, alone, patiently ironing the army uniform, and then he went and gently placed it on my bed. Musa was not thinking what it meant, he loved me and wanted me to look neat for service, and so we never spoke about what I was doing, as though it were not really being part of brutality, and yet it was, it was profoundly. All my life I have struggled with what it means to bear a particular identity, a mark with which you are born and must continue to carry, justify, and act upon. Jerusalem is the city in which I grew up. It is a city constructed of borders, differences, and a continuous feeling of hate and discomfort. I believed in telling a truthful story by using my own experience to portray some of the most painful issues and complexities that existed within my own family as well as others. For many years Musa was the only Palestinian I knew. He cared for me as a father and yet the relationship was one that at its base was not equal. He worked for my family. The money he made as a consequence allowed his sons to leave the country. For many years, he was our personal connection to the conflict. I believed a story could be told about the beauty and tragedy of this economic and social relationship. It reveals a struggle between classes, and the contradictions that exist within the most "liberal" of Israeli families, those that struggled for peace and at the same time sent their sons to serve in elite army units of the Israeli army. This conflict is transported to the United States, where the longings towards home never ceased. The three places come together in a larger context, with danger that knocks on everyone's door.
Film Information Collapse
[ANOTH] | 2004 | 77 | Documentary Feature
Foreign Title: (Another Road Home)
About the Director(s)Collapse
Danae Elon was born in Jerusalem in 1970 and graduated from NYU in 1995. Her first documentary, Never, Again, Forever, about the Jewish Defense League, explored the lives and characters of Jewish fundamentalists in Brooklyn and the occupied West Bank. Her second film, Wild Mint, told the story of a group of childhood friends in Israel and how they grew up dealing with strong ideological and Intifada-related issues. She next wrote, produced, and photographed Cut, an Israeli-Palestinian production about the lives of a community from Kurdistan that settled in Israel on the grounds of a former Palestinian village. Elon's award-winning films have been screened at more than 20 international festivals.