Amos GitaiDocumentaryIsrael

Amos Gitai – Territories (1980-2001)

1. House
At a stone quarry above Hebron, Arab stonecutters work without explosives to cut away slabs shipped to cities to build houses. We visit a site in an old Arab quarter of Jerusalem where Palestinian laborers are enlarging a house for a Jewish family that had been an Arab family’s home until 1948. We meet the house’s present owner, a Jewish professional. We meet a stonemason at work on the addition; he talks about his hatred of Jews. We meet an older man who had built the original house, and we meet the physician who had lived in the house until he and his family evacuated it. He explains why they left. History, class, labor, and attitude on display at a construction site.

2. Field Diary
In 1982, Amos Gitai and a film crew travel around the occupied territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as tensions mount, leading to the Israeli army’s invasion of Lebanon. Gitai contrasts Palestinian refugee camps with new Zionist settlements; he goads Israeli soldiers with his camera, he visits a strawberry field where Palestinian women work and the home of Bassam Shak’a, the mayor of Nablus on the West Bank, who is under house arrest. He interviews a Palestinian wheat farmer and some protesting women. Gitai asks if there’s a solution, can people live together? He gets various answers.
Field Diary also introduced what would become Gitai’s signature style: the long, lateral tracking shots that, as Yann Lardeau noted in Cahiers du cinéma, “become a question of morality…we never enter into the reality of the war, but we always remain on the edge of the scene”.

3. Wadi 1981-1991
Gitai visits a valley outside Haifa in 1981 to document Arab and Jewish squatters on the margins of Israeli society, then returns 10 years after to see whether social relations have changed.
Ten years after his first Wadi, Amos Gitai takes up again the tale of the inhabitants of Wadi Rushmia. The former protagonists are still there. Their living conditions have deteriorated and new Russian immigrants have arrived and settled. The circumstances and individual stories reflect the political and social situation of the region, which has deteriorated.

4. The Arena of Murder
Three weeks after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, Amos Gitai investigates the traces of the event. He travels through the country for three months; memories of wars and peace take form through numerous encounters.
“The film borrows from all forms of cinema, investigative documentary, autobiographical film, road movie, rock movie, and is finally satisfied with none. And yet, at the heart of this fragmented approach, this cinematic mausoleum finds its coherence, gradually weaving the threads of a dialogue between the dead man and all those places and people that Gitai convokes in his mental arena.”
Laurent Roth, Cahiers du Cinéma, June 1996

5. A House in Jerusalem
Can a house be a metaphor for Arab-Jewish relations in Israel? Amos Gitai returns to the house in West Jerusalem he profiled in 1980. He interviews members of the Jewish families who live there, and he talks with the Arab family who lived in the house until 1948. They are now in East Jerusalem and pay a nearly furtive visit to the street in front of their old house. Gitai also interviews Palestinian laborers at work on renovations and excavating an old tunnel to the Holy Mount. What do people think of each other, what do they think of Israel, what do they think of co-existence? Do the current residents know the house’s history?

6. Wadi Grand Canyon
Twenty years after his first Wadi, Amos Gitai returns for the third time to Wadi Rushmia. The site has been almost entirely destroyed by real-estate developers. Yussef and his wife, guardians of the place and of its history, still live there… Wadi Grand Canyon is composed of three films shot in 1981, 1991 and 2001 on the Wadi Rushmia site.
“Documentary film is used to this process which consists in going back on one’s steps, filming the time which has elapsed, recording the traces of what has changed and the marks of what has remained. Gitai himself did it in House and A House in Jerusalem. But Wadi, now Wadi Grand Canyon with its third episode, is different. Because time, in Israel, is a strategic commodity, almost a military secret. For the imagination – with its political consequences – everything seems to take place in a condensed time space, with an urgency knowing neither past nor future, as if the “young State” had been born yesterday, as if every instant invented its own ideological model – the only historical perspectives being the legendary epic of Zionism and the dark horizon of the Shoah. But the history of Israel is already a long one, day after day, that of the unfortunate people who live through it. This statement is hardly an evidence, in an environment wholly animated by fantasies of control, of conquest, of an initiative ceaselessly intent on overthrowing innumerable enemies, on mastering the desert, on defeating ancient curses, etc. Recording time in its duration, side by side with those who, neither mystics, warriors nor pioneers, do not decide nor control anything, is, in this context, the most radical side step. Just listening to words, tones, changes in language and accent, silences, catching postures, looks, wrinkles on faces and stones, all this amounts to an act of intense and modest courage, and generates light. Making a film, the art of time and of recording, in this region where the audio-visual media – the perfect opposite – are the most densely concentrated, becomes by essence an extraordinarily powerful critical work. Still, one must know how to go about this, in other words, to doubt a lot, to hesitate, to offer no resistance.” – Jean-Michel Frodon

A House In Jerusalem [Territories] (Amos Gitai 1997).mkv

Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	1 h 28 min
Size: 	1.26 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	702x382 ~> 702x438
Aspect ratio:  	16:10
Frame rate: 	23.976 fps
Bit rate: 	1 809 kb/s
BPP: 	0.281
#1:  	2.0ch AC-3 @ 224 kb/s (Stereo)

Language(s):Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Russian


  1. Thank you so much. I had been looking for this and Dvds were quite rare. Fitting post for the current situation as well.

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