Review: Mourning in Lod


As crimson blood courses through circuitous tubes we wonder, “Whose blood is this and where is it going?” As the film continues, we witness in a flashback the murders of two innocent, kind men who were both in transit home to loved ones. But the blood in the complicated tangle of tubes is life-saving and completes an ironic metaphor that goes far beyond the tragedy of two good men.

“Mourning in Lod” can be interpreted as a homophonic double entendre. Mourning is present for the tragedies of the two peace-loving dead men, but there is also a certain “morning,” a certain ironic rebirth, when we learn that the death of one, leads to the death of the other which leads to the harvesting of organs that leads to the life of others – especially one particular other. This true event, which took place in 2021, inspired the creation of two films.

The second film, also initially released in 2023, is titled “Lyd,” using the ancient Greek name for the city of Lod. It was created by an American Jew (Sarah Friedman) and an Israeli Palestinian (Rami Younis) from Lyd (aka Lod). Friedman explains in her film fundraiser that she now understands she was brought up with a lie and she, along with Younis, exposes it through the history of one city, Lyd. They show interviews with the last living Israelis who participated in the massacring of Arabs from their town in 1948. The film ends with the same 2021 story told in “Mourning in Lod.”

The heartbreaking murders constitute a metaphor for what has happened in Israel since 1948. One well-liked neighbor, representing the Palestinian side, is a Christian. His family has lived in Lod, the Hebrew name for Lyd, through time. His goal was to get along with all of his neighbors. He was not political, just friendly. While walking home one night he was shot dead by an Israeli settler. The event is taped by surveillance cameras.

This incident energizes his Arab community. Rocks are thrown and one smashes through the window of a car of another well-liked neighborhood man who was also on his way home to his family. Again, the incident is captured on video.

Three things then occur: a trial for the death of the Palestinian, a trial for the death of the Israeli, and the harvesting of an organ.

The ironic metaphor here in this struggle between the two sides in Lod is that foundationally the two men murdered wanted to get along with all of their neighbors. However, after they are killed the neighborhood struggle intensifies. The metaphor is extended in the different ways the two trials ensue, adding fuel to the boiling tensions. But a further extension of the metaphor comes full circle when we realize who received an organ from the deaths.

This artful microcosm of history, portrayed in both “Mourning in Lod” and “Lyd” helps explain the struggle, the tragedy, and the truth of the 1948 creation of Israel, its Zionist exclusivity, and its resultant unsolvable impasse.

Both films are excellent accounts of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. “Mourning in Lod” focuses exclusively on the circle of death and life of the specific event. The other, “Lyd,” includes extensive history with testimonies from participants and witnesses. If you can only see one, see “Lyd.” But if you are interested in juxtaposing two different perspectives in two well-made films, consider seeing them both.

The current war in Occupied Palestine is not America’s war. How we became involved in its financing and escalation is something Americans need to carefully examine. Both of these films, “Mourning in Lod” and “Lyd,” offer good primers on truth and possibility.

Sheila Nevins, executive producer of “Mourning in Lod,” aptly summarizes the film in her statement: “At a time when the world cries for peace, Hilla Medalia’s film pleads for reconciliation through a timeless and true story of murder, revenge, and merciful forgiveness.”

Rating: 10/10


Director/Producers: Hilla Medalia
Executive Producers: Sheila Nevins, Nina L. Diaz and Liza Burnett Fefferman
Co-Producer: Rotem Heyman
Associate Producer: Henna Abu Saada
Editors: Erez Laufer and Doron Djerassi
Cinematographers: Avner Shahaf and Hann Abu Saada
Sound: Yossi Applebaum
Music: Frank Haim Ilfman
Featuring: Marwa Hassuna, Milla Hassuna, Ibrahim Hassuna, Ahmed Hassuna, Al-Malik Hassuna, Obaide Hassuna, Irina Yehoshua, Amit Yehoshua, Michael Yehoshua, Efi Yehoshua, Randa Aweis, Sharihan Aweis, Kassandra Aweis, Dr. Abed Khalaileh, Nina Hillana Mattar, Najah Khalil, Niveen Aweis, Fairuz Aweis, and Avner Yehoshu
Release: Oct. 8, 2023 (limited), wide release April 19, 2024 // Premieres May 17 at 8 ET on Paramount + with SHOWTIME plan

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