Return to Haifa (1982)

Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - Palestine  |  
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This movie is reputed to be the first Palestinian film ever made, and it expertly handles the question of identity and the issue of "going home" when "home" has drastically changed. The story is based on a 1968 novel by Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, assassinated in 1973. At the time when Israel was carved out of 4/5 of the formerly British-controlled Palestine (May 14,1948), a couple was forced to leave their home in Haifa -- and in the chaos of the exodus of 500,000 Palestinians from the new Jewish state, their infant son disappeared. Now it is 20 years later, and they have returned to discover that their son was adopted by a Jewish family who entered Haifa at the same time the Palestinians were leaving -- and their son is as Jewish as they are Palestinian. He is also serving as a soldier in the Israeli army, and he feels all the love for his Jewish mother that a biological son would feel. As both families grapple with their emotions, they come to realize that a difficult situation such as this may sometimes have no answer at all.

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Keywords

exile, history