La strada dei Samouni
Impact | VIFF Impact
Stefano Savona’s film is an essential act of inquiry and documentation, but perhaps the highest of its many virtues is its compassion. The director portrays a hideous act of war—Israel’s 2009 massacre in Gaza—and the effect it has had on one extended family. Twenty-nine members of the Samouni family lost their lives in the slaughter; Savona interviews and observes the surviving members of the clan in the wake of their tragedy. Interspersed with this footage is the unspeakable brought to life through animation: in black and white, we see members of the family before and during the massacre, as well as recreated Israeli drone footage based on testimony and documentation.
Under the direction of animator Simone Massi, the calm before the attack is rendered as a time of tranquility, and the attack itself a nightmare of panic, confusion and violence. Sharp creases cross the human figures and surrounding objects, and the movement is halting; the overall feel is of a dream vividly recalled and etched before memory can fade. It’s the subjective side of the story to complement the real-life testimonies; together, the two elements work to produce a vital human document.
"Its success at showing real lives unfathomably impacted by barbarism is beyond dispute."—Jay Weissberg, Variety