In the rural outskirts of Gaza City a small community of farmers, the Samouni extended family, is about to celebrate a wedding. It’s going to be the first celebration since the latest war. Amal, Fuad, their brothers and cousins have lost their parents, their houses and their olive trees. The neighborhood where they live is being rebuilt. As they replant trees and plow fields, they face their most difficult task: piecing together their own memory. Through these young survivors’ recollections, Samouni Road conveys a deep, multifaceted portrait of a family before, during and after the tragic event that changed its life forever.
Having recorded his intimate chronicle of the 2008 war in Gaza in Cast Lead, Stefano Savona wanted to make another film dedicated entirely to the Samouni Family. He knew from the very beginning that he had to make a different film. At first, he thought about making a fiction film, but then the idea of animation came up. He was hesitant until he discovered the animation work of Simone Massi.
»The animations reconstitute the memories of the protagonists. We did not invent anything, all the animation parts of the film are based on the stories and testimonies of the Samouni, including the dream sequences. I wanted to pursue the same approach in the animated sequences as in the rest of the film: they bring to life a district that really existed, along with the charismatic members of the family who died in the massacre. It was therefore absolutely essential for me that the film precisely reconstitutes, almost “archeologically”, the houses, the mosque, the orchards – this paradise lost as told to me by the film’s protagonists. It was also important that these real characters be recognizable and realistic in their animated versions.«