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ANOTHER ROAD HOME
USA: GeoQuest Entertainment Group
Cast: Danae Elon, Mahmoud "Musa" Obeidallah, Amos Elon, Beth Elon, Ismail Obeidallah, Bassam Obeidallah, Khalid Obeidallah, Suha Obeidallah, Naser Obeidallah
Director: Danae Elon
Countries: USA / Israel
USA: 79 mins
USA Release Date: 29 April 2005 (Limited Release)
"You always used to iron my army uniform!" is something a child would say to a parent. In fact, it is an exclamation of wonder by Israeli filmmaker Danae Elon to Mahmoud "Musa" Obeidallah, the Palestinian man who had been her caregiver, and who was, in two decades with the Elon family, more like a third parent to her. It is a statement that lies at the crux of her documentary, ANOTHER ROAD HOME. The film chronicles the deeply personal story of an Israeli woman's quest to find her Palestinian caregiver, and places a human face on a situation that most of us are acquainted with only through troubling headlines. Danae notes, "Our hearts and lives are shaped by the people that have always surrounded us, those who have nourished and loved us. Musa became part of our family, part of the way I formed my perception and grew to understand my surroundings; no war could take that away from me." This hopeful message informs every frame of ANOTHER ROAD HOME.
Shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, Danae's Jewish parents, the famous author Amos Elon, and former literary agent Beth Elon, hired Musa Obeidallah, the Muslim father of eleven children, to take care of their six-month old daughter on a daily basis. Musa commuted from Palestine to his job in Jerusalem for the next twenty years, until Danae moved to New York to study at NYU Film School. Education was also on Musa's mind. With the money he earned, he sent his sons to study and make their careers in America. Against the mounting tensions of the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Intifada, the two families lost track of each other for ten years. During this time, Danae realized how much of an influence Musa had on her, and that she needed to revisit her past and find this remarkable man.
ANOTHER ROAD HOME takes her from her current home in New York to an Arab-American neighborhood in New Jersey, to the Palestinian village of Battir in the occupied territories, and back to her birthplace in Jerusalem. This evocative film brings to life a story that is both heartwarming and painful as it confronts the frictions and affection shared by Danae and Musa's sons; between the Obeidallah family and the Elon family; between Danae and her parents.
Exploring the delicate boundaries between family, class, and politics with unsentimental acuity seasoned by deep affection, director Danae Elon illuminates not only the often troubled political heritage shared by these two families, but a hope for the future in her quest to find ANOTHER ROAD HOME.