Film by Stefano Savona tells story of alleged Israeli massacre in Palestinian village
A politically-charged film about a bloody incident in the midst of the 2008-2009 war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has won l'Oeil d'or (Golden Eye), the top prize for documentary at the Cannes Film Festival.
Stefano Savona's Samouni Road tells the story of the killing of 29 Palestinian civilians, members of the Samouni family, who were huddled in a house that was razed by Israel Defense Forces.
"The wounded — largely women and children — were left for three days before the Red Cross could get to them," according to an account of the incident published in the Times of Israel.
Brilliant and subtle use of animation... strengthen the storytelling.
Samouni Road premiered in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors Fortnight) section, and was one of 17 documentaries eligible for consideration for l'Oeil d'or.
The Jury, led by director Emmanuel Finkiel, praised the film for its “intelligent way of filming, the right distance in its point of view, its sensitive outlook, the brilliant and subtle use of animation to strengthen the storytelling."
The film combines archive material with sequences animated by artist Simone Massi, resulting in a work of cinema that is "devastating and yet oddly distanced, leaving the viewer with sorrow, indignation but also space for reflection on the cruelty and injustice of Israel’s tactics in its war against Palestine," according to a review by Deborah Young published in The Hollywood Reporter.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.