"Another Road Home": Palestinians and Israelis merge in portrait of a caregiver with unconditional love
When Israeli-born filmmaker Danae Elon took her first steps toward finding perspective on childhood-born issues about the legacy of her...
Special to The Seattle Times
When Israeli-born filmmaker Danae Elon took her first steps toward finding perspective on childhood-born issues about the legacy of her homeland, she approached them from an angle few others could understand.
Elon was born in Jerusalem and taken care of for nearly 20 years by a poor Palestinian man named Musa, a stranger who showed up at her parents' door and was hired on the spot as nanny, housekeeper and caregiver for the 9-month-old Danae.
Danae's father, Amos Elon, has written extensively against the Israeli occupation. He was born to a prominent Austrian family, served time in Israeli intelligence and then expatriated to Tuscany. Musa was an impoverished Arab who devoted 18 hours a day and his unconditional care to Danae in order to send his eight sons to America for a better life.
After Musa left her family's life, nagging questions haunted Danae. As an adult living in New York, she couldn't stop wondering how Musa's children felt about the circumstances their father's choices created.
Danae is welcomed by Musa's grown sons when she makes contact in their Patterson, N.J., community. Her goal remains unclear, but she's more interested about their father's devotion to her family than the political issues that are (and no doubt always had been) a ringing subtext. They are wary but welcoming of this girl, bittersweet with the feeling that she knew their father perhaps better than they did.
Musa arrives in the U.S. for a reunion with his sons, Danae and her parents. A kind, smiling old man, he seems sublimely befuddled by politics and solely driven by the philosophy of giving everyone what they deserve, whether his sons or a privileged girl whom he risked his life to protect.
The politics are skirted, broached; old tensions resurface then are tamped down in scenes among the families. Resolution seems not to be the point.
Danae accompanies Musa home again, which makes him swell with joy. "From the milk we drank together, something of my blood, my life is in you," Musa tells Danae, and explains more about this moving portrait than any political debate could.
Ted Fry: firstname.lastname@example.org
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