Jewish, Algerian, and Communist, for more than 50 years I had refused to visit Israel, the land where my maternal uncle -my mother's brother- had chosen to live. What kept me from going there ? And if my hostility to Israel had only been an attempt to escape that word so short yet so difficult to pronounce: Jew… And if it were the same for all humanity? Relieved of the narrative which had made me, would I not lose myself? One day, I decide to go with a camera to ..... Israel. And I agree that my daughter, Naouel, accompany me… A debt I owe her.



I – KIPPUR

A forgotten family, Algerian Jews, lost from sight, I having transmitted nothing to my children, preferring to remain in ignorance myself.

Shall I be able to rid myself of my faults?

For, I must admit it immediately, I knew nothing. Neither of its past nor of its present.

A mysterious forgotten word that my mother often used,

Suddenly opened doors to me: “Tcharbeb”…



II – HANUKAH

But why was the world interested only in Arab refugees?

In Algeria where I had lived until 1993, only the misfortune of the palestinian arab had a name: the “Nakba”.

Had not the Arab Muslim world purged itself of all its Jews…?

And if there had been, not one, but two “Nakbas”?

Each day, I narrowed the gulf between what I had been and what I was becoming…

And little by little I reconstituted my family, till then a phantom…

Near his tomb, would I obtain my Uncle’s pardon?



III – PURIM

Suddenly I became aware that if all peoples had been massacred

At one period or another,

The Jews, alone, had been so at all periods.

Was there another people in the world that had always been forced to fight, just to exist?

Refusing however to give up so quickly my dream of fraternity,

I decided to continue our trip…

Arriving in Israel, I believed that the issue of Peace would be a problem.

I was mistaken.

From North to South of Israel, Jew or Arab, each one had his solution,

Or his way of living “the conflict”, as they say here…



IV – PESACH

And if my hostility to Israel had only been an attempt to escape that word so short yet so difficult to pronounce: Jew…

And if it were the same for all humanity?

Yet, the multiethnic society of which I had dreamed in Algeria, was it not here?

This world-people, who was it?

Our voyage continues… Voyage of all dangers…

Relieved of the narrative which had made me, would I not lose myself?

And my daughter, Naouel, what would she do with this belated transmission?

Once all of our family was restored, would my Uncle’s ghost cease to haunt me?


Israel, The Forbidden Journey

France, Israel 2019 | 2, 20, 2, 30, 3, 00, 3, 00 | A Documentary film in four parts: Kippur - Hanukkah - Purim – Pesach - New Release

Written, Filmed, Narrated and Directed by: Jean-Pierre Lledo
Edited by: Ziva Postec (Chief-Editor of '' Shoah '' by Claude Lanzmann)
Produced by: ZIVA POSTEC FILMS (Israel) & NAOUEL FILMS (France)
With the support of: Fondation Patrick et Lina Drahi, CNC, Rabinovich Foundation, The Israel Film Council
Language: French with English subtitles

Synopsis


Jewish, Algerian, and Communist, for more than 50 years I had refused to visit Israel, the land where my maternal uncle -my mother's brother- had chosen to live. What kept me from going there ? And if my hostility to Israel had only been an attempt to escape that word so short yet so difficult to pronounce: Jew… And if it were the same for all humanity? Relieved of the narrative which had made me, would I not lose myself? One day, I decide to go with a camera to ..... Israel. And I agree that my daughter, Naouel, accompany me… A debt I owe her.



I – KIPPUR

A forgotten family, Algerian Jews, lost from...

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  • Director`s Note

     

    From a Jewish mother, and from a communist father, of Spanish origin, I was born in Algeria in 1947.  Wanting to be an Algerian citizen, and having adopted the communist convictions of my father, I remained in Algeria, after its independence, to remain faithful to my parents. I only left Algeria in 1993, threatened by Islamists.

    I made this film to understand why for fifty years I had hidden the Jewish world, Judaism, and Israel from myself. Feeling as I did however that I was not, Jewish, one of the consequences was that I never saw my maternal uncle, who died 14 years ago. He had left Algeria in 1961 for Israel, so I did not know my three cousins either.

    My latest film "Algeria, unspoken stories", (banned in Algeria because for the first time ever, that film described the massacres committed by the FLN against the non-Muslim population throughout the "war of liberation", which thus also became '' a war of purification ''), that film was finally distributed in France in 2008.

    That film was selected by the International Festival of Jerusalem, although hesitant but encouraged by my daughter; I accepted the invitation, without imagining that this trip would be the beginning of a new adventure including my present film presented here. '' Israel, the forbidden journey '' bears witness to all this.

    In its own way, this film is a cinematographic essay on the "Jewish Question" in the form of a road-movie that consists of making numerous trips back and forth between my own story, and the discovery of this trillion-year-old Jewish history that, but a short time ago, was totally unknown to me.  Still little, I did not. At the same time, I was absorbing part of the Israeli ethnic diversity (Christian and Muslim Arabs, Bedouins, in particular.

    I shot the film myself for a year, accompanied by my Israeli co-producer Ziva Postec, for the translation, and my daughter: In part, a way of transmitting the whole tale to her, this film is also meant for a young man lacking landmarks and knowledge,  as was true of both of us, about Israel.

    Although introspective in nature, this film is not narcissistic. Holding the camera, the only time I am seen is when I go to my uncle's grave in Ashdod: There, I am filmed by my daughter.

    This journey into myself is first and foremost a way to discover and cover reveal everything that, whether for ideological or for less obvious ones I wanted to ignore: a people, its sites, its history, recent and ancient, its beliefs...

    Was it because of this burden that crushes him as soon as his father says "Israelite"  so as not to pronounce the hurtful word, ‘’Jew’’? Because paternal atheism had made me reduce Judaism to a religion? Since, later, my parents remained in Algeria after independence, and having become myself an Algerian, it was unthinkable even to question the two words that structure the Arab world's hostility towards Jews: Zionism and Palestine? Or simply because the "Jewish Question" still does not seem to have been answered, since even today some Jews still wonder whether the Jewish people really exist?

    Beyond my itinerary, and this long self-questioning, at which the film hints,  the spectator, both non-Jewish, and Jewish, is invited to review his own ideas vis-à-vis the Jewish world and Israel, often linked to treacherous words, soon rigidified into prejudices.

    But beyond the set of challenges of this film, everyone will be able to question his own taboos, his denials, his self-censorship, his conditioning, and the work to be done to free him or herself...

    If this film can be considered as a break in my work, since I examine what I had previously repressed, it is nonetheless in continuity with my last trilogy (Algerias, my ghosts / An Algerian dream / ‘’Algeria, unspoken stories "), both for the content (identity in the face of history) and especially for the form (road-movie).

    If my last trilogy was in search of the paternal utopia of multiethnic fraternity, this quadrilogy is rather a quest for truth, dedicated to my mother, and to my uncle.

    Jean-Pierre Lledo