Disengagement gives audiences a glimpse of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the prism of one character's unique experience.
Avignon, autumn 2005, Ana (Juliette Binoche) is reunited with her adoptive brother Uli (Liron Levo), an Israeli policeman, when their father dies. As Ana and Uli reminisce, laugh and argue about the past her deep disengagement from her life is revealed. When their father’s will is read it is revealed that a child Ana had abandoned as a teenager is living on a kibbutz in the occupied territories. She is the sole inheritor, but will only receive her inheritance if Ana travels to Gaza in person. Ana begins a physical and emotional journey that sees her arrive in Gaza just as the government enforced Israeli disengagement from the occupied territories begins. As the Israeli settlers are forced to disengage, Ana finally comes face-to-face with her past.
Disengagement was filmed on location in Avignon, Ashdod and Gaza and marks Juliette Binoche’s first collaboration with Amos Gitai. While Disengagement is clearly a film about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Gitai explores the issues from the point of view of specific people in precise circumstances. He skilfully illustrates the madness and unpredictability of the conflict by placing the unwittingly involved Ana at the heart of a situation which is out of her control and beyond her comprehension. Her heritage and culture are clearly at odds with the situation, yet she is implicated in it both as a witness and later as a protagonist in her own right.
Disengagement premièred at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Roberto Rossellini Award.
"Song of the Earth / Disengagement" by Simon Stockhausen