"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Monday, September 1, 2008

“Footprints in the Sand” directed by Ravital Zivan (Shtern)

Is it humanly possible to carry on after losing your entire family? From what source would you draw the strength to continue working, eating, breathing? David Chatuel lost his heavily pregnant wife and four daughters in a brutal terrorist attack in Gush Katif. As a religious man with tremendous inner strength and sensitivity, he believes that while his wife and children were taken from him, he remains on this earth for a purpose. This gives him the determination and the strength to work and to rebuild his life. This is a story of faith, tremendous sadness and great hope.

Footsteps in the Sand עקבות בחול is an extremely touching and even profound film. David Chatuel talks about his wife and daughters, how much he misses them when he comes home from work at the end of the day, how he used to worry about them and they worried about him. His life continues – he has friends who care for him and he has an elementary school to run.

It is the summer of the disengagement from Gaza -- when the Israeli army pulled out and all the Gush Katif settlements were dismantled (summer 2005). The disengagement tore Israelis apart politically and emotionally. It didn’t matter if you supported the settlers in their efforts to remain in their homes, or if you supported the pull-out, you couldn’t help but realize how difficult it is to be uprooted from your home, from your livelihood, from your roots.

On a personal level, David Chatuel finds it terribly hard to pack up the lives of his children and put them into a cardboard box. His sister-in-law, his wife's sister, comes to help him. Piece by piece, the children’s toys, pictures, books are all removed from their shelves and boxed up. Imagine how hard it must have been for David Chatuel to leave behind his home and his memories.

Part of the tragedy of the disengagement from Gaza, or those who lived at Gush Katif, like David Chatuel, and were removed from their homes and resettled elsewhere, is what remains of their homes and memories? They are like footprints in the sand that fade with each passing moment.

Footsteps in the Sand (documentary, 2006, 50 minutes) is available from Hedva Goldshmidt at http://www.go2films.com/

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