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Israel, 1980

Production : Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA)

Programmed by Stéphanie Bourbeau

Hebrew, Arab

French, English

Le souci du toit


House is the story of a house in West-Jerusalem: abandoned during the 1948 war by its owner, a Palestinian doctor; requisitioned by the Israeli government as "vacant"; rented to Jewish Algerian immigrants in 1956; purchased by a university professor who undertakes its transformation into a patrician villa… The building site is like a theatre in which the former inhabitants, the neighbours, the workers, the builder and the new owner all appear. Israeli television censured the film.

A word from Tënk

A house in West Jerusalem, where the subject and object of Amos Gitaï’s film meet. In this black-and-white anthology documentary, both produced and censored by Israeli television, Gitaï shines a light on the doubled injustice of private property under the context of an occupation.
Gitaï’s background in architecture shines through visually generous shots of the substance and textures of stone quarries and the villa under construction. But, as a Marxist artist, his critiques of the occupation and its violence are never far. Gitaï’s interest for mortar and stone zooms out far enough to show the Palestinian workers’ sweat as they labour on renovations for the house’s current owner, an Israeli university professor.
Both a symbolic and material figure of Palestinian history, the titular house tells a story of absence and occupation, of its former residents now forced into exile and of the injustice that is sometimes born from ruins.

Stéphanie Bourbeau
Philosophy teacher

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