As a kick-off to our new series of movie resources, based on the engaging and stimulating short films from the Ma’aleh Film School in Jerusalem, we are excited to share with you a link to the movie “House no. 103”, a story of a community and family struggling with crisis.
Movie: House no. 103 – a documentary by Ohad Domb
Synopsis of Movie:
It is August 2005 and the Tal family have lived in Gush Katif, the Jewish settlement bloc in Gaza, for 19 years. Now the government of Ariel Sharon is implementing the “Disengagement”, evacuating the Jewish population from their homes. The movie follows the Tal family in its final days in Neve Dekalim and shows the pain of a community and a family that is literally breaking apart. Each of the family members struggles with the choices they still have left, as they consider where their strongest loyalties lie and try to deal with the reality of leaving their home.
In the context of this summer’s crisis situation in Israel, with Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, this movie returns us to the reality of almost ten years ago, when Israeli society was dealing with the collective trauma of thousands of Israelis being evacuated, as a result of a government policy to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza. The movie raises several central themes. Choose one of the themes below to focus on.
1. Sources of Strength in Adversity
For the Tal family, and Israeli society overall, the Disengagement from Gaza was an enormously painful situation. Families were uprooted from their homes, communities broke apart, the country as a whole was split over the whole issue, and there was fear of civil dissent and what the results would be. The movie tells an intimate story of one family’s pain and shows how each of the family members struggle to deal with the stress, the anger, disappointment and fear of the future. At the same time the movie also shows us some of the many ways in which people find strength to carry on and how communities as a whole overcome hardship. The Jewish People has been through many painful situations, and overcome great adversity. The recent annual commemoration of Tisha B’Av (the 9th Av), during which we remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples, also offers us a model of collective tragedy and ways to deal with it.
- In the movie, what resources do the Tal family have to help them deal with their pain and trauma?
- What sources of strength do individuals and families draw on?
- What has helped the Jewish People overcome hardship successfully in the past?
- How do we deal with and commemorate pain on a collective level?
- What can we learn for ourselves and our communities in the future?
2. Personal versus Communal Needs
House no. 103 shows us what happens when there is tension between individual needs on one hand, and the demands of a community, on the other. At the time, even though there was strong and widespread resistance to the Disengagement, the majority of Israelis supported the government and believed that, for the good of the collective, it was necessary to take difficult steps that, for the Tal family for example, required enormous personal sacrifice. In any collective, there are times when individuals are required to sacrifice their own needs for the greater good and this can be enormously painful. In addition, as we see poignantly in the movie, the Israeli army played a key role as the implementer of government policy. The relationship of the Tal family members to the army is complex and touching. And we see how individual soldiers and policemen take on the symbolism of the state as they put on their uniforms, and represent the collective, regardless of their personal views.
- Describe some scenes in the movie where the tension between personal and collective needs can be seen.
- How do you feel when you see this tension? What would you do differently, if you were in charge?
- Have you ever been in a situation where your individual needs had to be sacrificed for the greater good of the collective? How did you feel and what did you do?
- What would you want to say to the Tal family, and to the other people in the movie?
Find and Watch the Movie – House no. 103
House no. 103 is available for free viewing here until the end of August 2014. From then on it is available for download, for a small fee, from the Ma’ale film catalog.
- On the 2005 Gaza Disengagement, see Engaging Disengagement from Makom at the Jewish Agency for Israel.
- Activity using contemporary Israeli music, related to the Disengagement and notions of Home.