Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel
In the summer of 2002, for two long months, Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi travelled together from the South to the North in the country of their birth, tracing their trajectory on a map. They called it Route 181. This virtual line follows the borders outlined in Resolution 181, which was adopted by the United Nations on November 29th, 1947, to partition Palestine into two states.
“Despite the tribal allegiances imposed on us, which we reject, and armed with our common experience, we decided to return to our country. By doing so, we wanted to unveil the geographic and mental reality in which the men and women of Palestine-Israel are living today. The demarcation line of the Partition Plan for Palestine, drawn up and voted by the UN in 1947, was the starting point of our film. For us, it represented both a documentary challenge and promises of a rich human adventure. Along this demarcation line, which does not in fact exist, we wanted to film, in a particular way, men and women, places, all previously unseen. During these chance meetings, we listened together to the varying sounds of people, to their passions and disillusionment. We provoked – in us but also in our interlocutors – a relationship of love in response to a daily reality saturated with danger and overwhelmed by death. The voices of those forgotten by official discourse will we hope, be heard – the voices of those who nonetheless constitute the majority in both societies, those in whose name wars are fought. We wished to construct a film which resists the idea that the only thing Israelis and Palestinians can do together is fight wars until they are both driven to oblivion.” (Michel Khleifi & Eyal Sivan)