May 1948. Battles are raging in Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs. In two weeks, the British mandate will come to an end and they will leave the country. A rusty cargo ship, the Kedma, is on its way to the Promised Land. Hundreds of Holocaust survivors from all over Europe are packed aboard. On a beach in Palestine, soldiers of the Palmach - the clandestine Jewish army - wait to welcome them, whilst British soldiers intend to stop them disembarking. Nevertheless, a small group of men and women manages to escape to the hills and finds itself in the midst of the battle for the road to Jerusalem.
"How does one make fiction out of a founding myth? For America, Hollywood invented the western. For Israel, Amos Gitai shot Kedma. (...) Since he does not really go in for nationalism, he makes us look at a few of the black holes into which the Middle East is falling. To tell us that when Israel was founded in 1948 - an incredible attempt at turning a people's fate into destiny - they were met with an even crazier reality. And Gitai, impressively melancholic, spares no one: neither the British soldiers nor those of the Palmach, the clandestine Jewish army. (...) The situation called for a totally new nation, not just another State. Gitai also underlines this point: the Israeli issue is not the Jewish issue. And utopias rarely end happily. As for the Arabs, the other great group of displaced people in the film, Gitai does not grant them any extra heroism or make martyrs of them. Yussuf, an old peasant harassed by Jewish soldiers, starts vociferating (...) Later, Janusz the Jew, dazed by the fighting, starts yelling (...). Always the same thing, in this nightmare, soliloquy for soliloquy."
Gérard Lefort, Libération, May 17, 2002
Cast Andrei Kashkar, Helena Yaralova, Yussef Abu Warda, Moni Moshonov, Menachem Lang, Sandy Bar, Tomer Ruso, Veronica Nicole Screenplay Amos Gitai, Marie-José Sanselme, with the collaboration of Marc Weitzmann, Mordechai Goldhecht Cinematography Yorgos Arvanitis Sound Michel Kharat, Alex Claude, Cyril Holtz Music David Darling, Manfred Eicher Editing Kobi Netanel Production design Eitan Levi Costumes Laura Dinulescu Special effects Pini Klavier Casting Ilan Moscovitch Production Agav Films, Agav Hafakot (Israel), M.P. Productions, BIM (Italy), Arte France Cinéma, Canal+, Eurimages Executive producer(s) Laurent Truchot, Shuki Friedman Producer(s) Amos Gitai, Marin Karmitz, Michel Propper Co-Producer(s) Valerio De Paolis
Cannes : Festival de Cannes
2002 - Official selection, in competition
São Paulo International Film Festival
2002 - Press Award
Bangkok International Film Festival