“I don’t know how to tell a story,” says the young girl Amal at the start of the film. But in this meticulous reconstruction of the catastrophe that ripped her life apart, fragments of memories do emerge for the patient camera—about the big sycamore tree, for example, where she would bring coffee for her father. The tree is gone now, and so is her dad.
Over a period of several years, Stefano Savona collected fragments of the Samouni family’s story: in January 2009, 29 family members were killed in an Israeli army attack on their Gaza neighborhood. Scenes shot in recent times show a dejected, fatherless family and a neighborhood in ruins. Expressive black-and-white animations bring family memories to life, building the tension that leads up to the devastating attack itself. The drone footage evokes an atmosphere charged with both detachment and intolerable realism.
Our perspective on the isolated territory of Gaza is often limited to stereotypical images of conflict and resistance. In the caring but utterly unsentimental Samouni Road, Savona gives a face to trauma and loss.