Filmmaker and Mondoweiss friend Jen Marlowe directed a five part miniseries looking at the 2014 war from the vantage point of five years later.
Each segment in “Remembering the Gaza War” is microscopic. The story of war is compressed to simple, yet catastrophic snapshots told by one or two narrators recounting tragedies. One man talks aloud about pulling 11 family members out of debris. He shows the exact spots. His wife replays a recording on her phone of twin babies cooing on an overstuffed chair the day before they were killed. These survivors of war we meet on screen—teachers, parents, siblings, artists, activists—are the protagonists of each episode. Their stories are hard to watch. There aren’t a lot of distractions to numb or soften the content.
In a certain sense not much has changed inside of Gaza since the ceasefire was declared between Israel and Hamas six months before Jen began filming. Rubble is everywhere. Many of Jen’s outdoor shots cascade across homes destroyed during the war. Even a kindergarten with blown out walls had remnants of missiles still lingering inside.
In one scene with no toys in sight, children pick up bits of what was a wall and play.
A wide shot in the first installment, entitled “A Family Erased,” reveals a Palestinian boy riding a donkey cart along a dirt path in the eastern neighborhood of Shejaiya. Both sides of the road are lined with slabs of concrete, frenetic iron rods and shards of glass. It’s the mess of multistory buildings that were leveled during the war.
High politics and analysis have little place in this series. The stories, focused on loss and tragedy but also underscoring strength and resilience, are told unapologetically from the point of view of those most impacted by the traumatic events of the war. The viewer is left with a sense of constant ruination, mirroring what the Palestinians in the films are surrounded by every day.
Stepping outside of the series, both Palestinian and Israeli analysts agree another war in Gaza is likely to take place, it’s just a matter of when. For most people in Gaza, that means more devastation. Civilians who have no part in fighting bear the brunt of force. One family had three different houses destroyed in the span of five years. No one we encounter in the films is better off today than they were before the war.
“Remembering the Gaza War” was produced in partnership with the Institute for Middle East Understanding, Just Vision, and Jen’s production company Donkeysaddle Projects.
We will be releasing one additional video the series each week for a total of five episodes.
Episode one, “A Family Erased.”
Episode two, “Kifah’s Kindergarten.”