Leona Strassberg Steiner's simple, affecting film explores questions of memory, home, and belonging, all in an interfaith context.
This body of work is about memories, land, and displacement, comprised of old landscape photographs of fields where land mines were once prevalent. Having lived half my life in Israel and half in the United States, I have accumulated a multitude of memories that are nestled on two separate continents. I remember how safe I felt sleeping inside my little house in Pardes Hanna. The density of the trees, and the patterns the sun and shade made on the floor. I can feel the heat that would permeate the walls of my room and the drone of the fan trying its best to keep me cool.
On my return to the United States, memories began surfacing that I could no longer ignore. Palestinians living inside and out of Israel’s borders, living as exiles, their homes being destroyed, land taken, towns and villages leveled to make room for my people and our new towns and villages. A child’s shoe, a doll with no head or arms; broken toys, found while walking the fields with my dogs. Who did I think they belonged to? I didn’t make the connection. I was blind to a nation that still holds the keys to the homes that we now inhabit. How can this be? The project is also comprised of videos, which question the validity of land ownership and to whom, as well as self-portraits, delving into our self-identities and governments that try to manipulate our cultures and identities as a power grab. My life there, my life here... I don’t feel really at home anywhere.... All any of us want, is a piece of land under a tree, to build a house, to sleep in a room and dream, while the leaves rustle in the wind.