…To The Sea

Friday 23:00

Ishaan Thompson | 
2023 | 
Canada | 
8:00 mins | 
A Palestinian fisherman tries to breach the naval blockade in Gaza to get treatment for his sick daughter

…To The Sea, directed by Ishaan Thompson, brings us a delicate story of familial love and loss against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The film centres on the story of a father and a daughter attempting to flee Palestine, bringing to light to refugee status of Palestinians in the region.

The tender and emotional execution of this film lies in its simplicity. …To The Sea favours neither complex animation, overdrawn narrative nor excessive sound: pared down to a basic, minimalist core it communicates effectively the affect of geopolitics on oppressed peoples. The film uses only three animated sets and four (or five) characters. Here we are not bogged down in complexities of story-telling. Relationships instead take centre stage: of the father to daughter, the asylum guards to the daughter and both father and daughter to the state. The simplicity of two locations, Cyprus and Palestine, also communicates the wider reaching affect of these conflicts; this is not just a local issues but one that affect reaches globally to the shores of Europe.

The film’s politics also realises the necessity of understanding intersections of identity. All too often dominant narratives of the conflict revolve around ethnic or religious tensions (Arabs against Jews as an example) that wash over many differences of experience within war. The daughter’s mental health, represented in the electronic static that signal mental breaking points, reminds us of the need to understand the psychological affect of war. Moreover, this scenario brings into relief another kind of refugee not typically understood within dominant Western media; healthcare refugees. Once again, the myriad issues faced by victims of war and refugees resurface in favour of a flattened, one-dimensional image that reduces the capacity for compassion and understanding.