DOI: 10.3828/franc.2023.12 ISSN: 2046-3820

An interview with Amos Gitai on House

Joanne Brueton
  • General Engineering

When the Lebanese playwright Wajdi Mouawad invited Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai to stage his documentary trilogy House (1980, 1998, 2005) at the Théâtre national de la Colline in 2023, geopolitical animosities made way for artistic solidarities. In this article and interview, I explore how Gitai’s play critiques the violent logics of home and homelands, exploring how a commandeered house in West Jerusalem plays host to the multidirectional memory of violent Jewish and Palestinian erasure. Stones become metonyms of the Israel–Palestine conflict: as they are quarried, chiselled, split, cemented, and erected, they testify to the construction of homes that also become tools of destruction, expulsion, and mutual ontological violence (Kotef, 2020). Drawing on an interview I conducted with Gitai in July 2023, and his Collège de France lectures from 2018 to 2019, I read his archaeological journey into the remains of this Arab-Jewish house as a call to hospitality (Derrida, 1997): troubling the subject positions of host and hostage that both underpin and impede a ‘chez soi’.

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