Through the languages of science fiction and documentary, LYD IN EXILE tells a story about a city that once connected Palestine to the world –– what it once was, what it is now, and what it could have become.
LYD IN EXILE, a creative documentary, unearths a contested history and uses the language of speculative fiction to reimagine life in modern-day Palestine. In 1948, during Israel’s founding, an event transformed the city of Lyd. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were massacred by Israeli forces and most of the city’s inhabitants were sent into exile. These events were part of a larger history called the Nakba (catastrophe), the Arabic term for the erasure of Palestine. The Nakba began in 1948 with massacres throughout historic Palestine and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their land, and continues today with ongoing violence, land seizure and cultural erasure.
Presently, Lyd is now called Lod in Hebrew and the city that once connected Palestine to the world is now the capital of Israel’s drug trade –– disinvested and divided. But what if the Nakba and, specifically, the massacre and expulsion in Lyd had never happened? LYD IN EXILE combines dystopian, documentary footage and animated fictional scenes to portray two simultaneous realities –– the non-fiction reality in which the Nakba happened and continues to impact the present, and a fictional alternative reality in which the Nakba never happened and Palestine flourishes as a pluralistic society. Documentary scenes feature a Palestinian metal worker in Balata Refugee Camp who is trapped in exile, never before seen Israeli archival footage of Zionist soldiers admitting to the war crimes they committed in Lyd in 1948, a Palestinian teacher in Lyd fighting to keep Palestinian identity alive for the next generation, and other characters who refract the complexities of life in Palestine/Israel. Through animated fictional sequences, the film colorfully and often humorously imagines what life would be like for these same characters if the Nakba had never happened and the open wound left by the massacre and expulsion was closed. However, this animated, idealized reality is also imperfect and fragile. Throughout the film, the documentary and animated realities collide into one another. Their struggle with each other is a constant tension, leaving the audience wondering which one will prevail.
Sarah Friedland (Director/Cinematographer)
Rami Younis (Director/Producer)
David Navas (Animator)
Eyas Salman (Editor)
Fivel Rothberg (Producer)
Laura Hawa and Baher Agbaria, Majdal Films (Producers)
Roger Waters (Executive Producer)
What are people saying about “Lyd In Exile”?
“Media makers have the enormous responsibility of over-riding US control of information about Palestine and the Israeli occupation. Here is another necessary project to reach across the gap.”
– Sarah Schulman Author, Activist and Distinguished Professor