The Mute's House

Beit ha'Ilemet

  • Tamar Kay
  • Israel
  • 2015
  • 31 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Student Documentary, IDFA DOC U Competition
Eight-year-old Yousef and his deaf mother Sahar are the last Palestinian residents of an otherwise deserted building in the Israeli part of the city of Hebron. Their island within the Jewish quarter is called “The Mute’s House” by Israeli soldiers, even though Sahar isn’t mute at all. Travel agencies have included the property in their tours. Yousef makes good use of his privilege to cross the border when he goes to school. Through the tour guides’ explanations, we learn the story of Yousef and Sahar, who bravely withstand all the threats and bullying. None of Yousef’s Palestinian classmates can come to his house, and filmmaker Tamar Kay isn’t allowed to cross the border to film the Palestinian quarter with Yousef. Despite his disability – Yousef was born with one arm – he amuses himself with the chickens, goats and rabbits that forage among the ruined neighboring houses, and he plays the guitar and video games. The remarkable situation elegantly illustrates the absurdity of the endless conflict. 


  • 31 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Hebrew, Arabic
  • Subtitles in: English
Tamar Kay
Tamar Kay for The Sam Spiegel Film & TV School, Ariel Richter for The Sam Spiegel Film & TV School, Tamar Kay, Ariel Richter
Zvi Landsman
Shira Mazuz
Alon Peretz

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Student Documentary
IDFA DOC U Competition

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IDFA history

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