Detained after refusing to move when Israeli authorities bulldozed his house, Mohammed returns from jail a changed man.
Mohammed, a resident of an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev, stays on his land and refuses to move when Israeli bulldozers arrive to demolish his home. Detained and released a few days later, Mohammed returns a changed man. Under the threat of further demolitions and new laws pressuring him and his family to move into a township, Mohammed quits his job. Amid increasing uncertainty, he finds strength in Islam.
Director’s statment Destiny Hills 2009
The “Tawil Abu Garwal” village lies amongst the hills on the northern border of the desert in a beautiful, picturesque setting. The Bedouin way of life is exotic and impressive. It is easy to fall for the beautiful sights and the bright colors captured by the camera. But I plan on penetrating the screen of exotic beauty and the anthropological visiting eye. I would like to follow the people who live in this difficult area, to observe their endless efforts to hold on to the desert land, and also to document the struggle between two cultures: West and East, immigrants and natives, and the struggle between man and nature. All these are crammed into this tiny piece of desert, between Lehavim and Be’er Sheva, the “Negev capital”- an hour and a half drive away from my home in Tel-Aviv.
I go there again and again with my camera. Little by little trust is established. I stand to the side and film. The tribe members live their lives; I film them in their daily activities, catching moments, gestures. The camera documents not only the difficulties of surviving in the desert, but the moments of leisure as well, the nightly conversations by the fire, enjoying a coffee and smoking water pipe, listening to traditional music, and organizing horse and car races. I get closer to the film’s hero, to Muhammad. Through my close observation of his actions and his struggles, his relationships with his family and tribe members, through his daily life, I try to find out what makes him tick, what keeps him going even when he is almost alone in the battle. Why is he ready to pay such a high personal price? And where will it get him? In his obstinate way, he is fighting for his own happiness. At times happiness seems within reach, at other times unattainable.