The Samuni family (2018), by Stefano Savona – Review

We are dealing with a hard work due to its content and form, which narrates the terrible situations that the Palestinian population faces too often.

Originally shot with the name of Samouni Road, opens in Spain under the name of The Samuni family, and tells us the internationally known as Zeitun Incident. It offers us a profound and tremendous portrait of a Palestinian family before, during and after the tragic event that occurred in the Gaza Strip that would change their lives forever.

Italian-French co-production directed by Stefano Savona, who uses the documentary format to get closer to the reality of everyday family life, starting with little Amal, whose naturalness and spontaneity when speaking about what happened is truly unforgettable. Savona takes this story to the animated cinema with some black and white drawings to narrate the terrible events that cost the lives of several members of the family and of which, evidently, there are no images. The animation is made by Simone Massi, one of the best Italian animators and best known internationally. He also uses the brighter animation to tell us about family dreams.

Savona gets from the protagonists of the story a presence before the cameras that must be highlighted for its verismo, without unnecessary underlining.

The incident provoked an investigation by the United Nations and the Israeli Army, since it prevented the Red Cross from entering the conflict zone for three days and its inhabitants had to survive in an absolutely precarious manner. Precisely, based on these investigations, the film has been made.

Stefano Savona has extensive experience focused almost exclusively on documentary, where he usually combines directing and production duties. This is the seventh documentary he has directed since 2002, when he did his first job. She was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2018 David di Donatello Awards, equivalent to the Goya Awards in Italy; It was selected to participate in the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Festival, its director won the Golden Eye Award in 2019 and the Best Documentary Award at the 2019 Bari Festival.

Savona gets from the protagonists of the story a presence before the cameras that must be highlighted for its verismo, without unnecessary underlining. Although it is true that the documentary part in which we gradually discover the reality of that family takes too long at times, this allows him to offer us a credible image of the reality that this family lives, truly distressing. Reminded us of the movie Everything Happens in Tel Aviv (2019), in which there in the form of humor, he continues to speak equally of the unfortunate situation to which the Palestinian population is subjected.

Ultimately, we are dealing with a tough work due to its content and form, which tells us about the terrible situations that the Palestinian population faces too often, which brings us closer to the unimaginable suffering that this people in the Gaza Strip is facing, which achieves involve the viewer and not be indifferent at any time.


Synopsis “Samouni Road” shows a profound and multifaceted portrait of a family before, during and after the tragic event that changed her life forever, the Zeitoun incident.
country Italy
Address Stefano Savona
Script Stefano Savona, Léa Mysius, Penelope Bortoluzzi
Music Giulia Tagliavia
Gender Documentary | Animation
Duration 128 min.
Original title The strada dei Samouni
Premiere 03/13/2020

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