Catalogue Number: BF0012
Producer: Bishari Films
Subject: Documentary, Global Issues, Global Studies, Jewish Studies, Social Issues, Social Sciences, Social Studies
Grade Level: Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2000
Running Time: 57:00
Martyr Street, Hebron is the only place in the West Bank where Jewish settlers live in the heart of a Palestinian city; it has long been known as a flashpoint. In September 2000 our film crew was in the midst of shooting a story on children living there for the documentary, A Child’s Century of War. We had no idea that the intifadah was about to break out – literally – before our eyes. History Television commissioned a follow-up on the children of Martyr Street. What we found when we returned was a much bigger story – largely hidden from the international media. Nearly impossible to enter without official sanction, Martyr Street had become nearly deserted; “cleansed” of most of its Palestinian population.
The resulting film Martyr Street explores the roots of violence on the street named for its dead. We feature the children as they grow older, but this time include the adults in their lives; the soldiers, the teachers, the fanatics and the fatalists – each claiming huge stakes that are both incompatible and impassioned.
But it goes back even further, to the story of Abraham, the patriarch of both the Muslims and Jews, who is buried there. Out of a shared heritage, death seems, at first , their only common ground. Does it have to be? This is the story of Martyr Street.
“Martyr Street is brave filmmaking at its best” – Terry Waite, former hostage, Lebanon
“Canadian documaker Shelley Saywell movingly recounts the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the lives of two little girls….(the result is) eye-opening social and political journalism.” - Variety
“☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Shelley Saywell personalizes the casualties and makes a powerful statement in the process.” – Eye for Film, London
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