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Film Review: "On the Side of the Road"


Screening as a part of the Witness Palestine film series, "On the Side of the Road" is a documentary by Israeli journalist Lia Tarachansky probing into the collective Israeli denial about the expulsion and displacement of Palestinians in the wake of the 1948 war for independence. Referred to by the Palestinian people as the Nakba, or "the catastrophe," the destruction of villages resulted in generations of refugees and, as parks and new cities were built on the ruins of those villages, years of violent history were swept under the rug.

Tarachansky interviews several former soldiers who participated in the destruction, though understandably, most are reluctant to talk about what they view as horrific mistake from their pasts. One expresses regret over the acts he committed and, when asked to explain why he carried out his orders, articulates an uncomfortable truth of war, saying that "a soldier sees only as far as he's told to shoot." Impressively, the film refrains from dehumanizing either side, instead making the simple request that the region's history never be forgotten.