Directors statement

My documentary offers an insight into people who dare to seek alternative ways to go against the fear and public opinion in society and fight the widening gap of “us and them”.

The films content is an examination of how the shadows of our past inflict our lives: Can we break them or do we let them take over and rule our existence and our future?  

I raised this question to myself in the middle of a serious accident, and I went to Israel – far away from my own Scandinavian background both in the matter of conflicts, traumas and religion.

 The shadows are there, the sadness
    is there, but it is not a compass
       by which you should measure
          your present and your future.

                          Hanna Yablonka

I knew the shadows of the past were tremendous: Holocaust is a taboo you can´t touch. However, I decided to examine if it’s possible for the people to free themselves from a painful past. Four prominent Israeli Jews, all “rule-breakers”, allowed me to confront them during times of  “war and peace”, thoughts and negotiations in both their private – as well as their professional life. During a period of two years, our relationship gradually grew in confidence, and they dared to question both the role of “the chosen people”, and not least; They strongly criticized the victim role, they believe Jews have assumed throughout history.

Holocaust now is being abused politically to keep the population in the role as victims, and the traumas justified the oppression of the Palestinian threat. But I too saw how the influential religious leader, the psychiatrist, the historian and a former prominent politician, step by step were facing a reality that is difficult to control. They had all believed and worked for a future with room for both Jews and Palestinians when we met… 

     In order to make peace,
         you have to withdraw
             and leave place for the other.
                           Michael Melchior 

But hope broke down, cancelled by “another war”, the mediation between Muslims and Jews grew even more difficult, anti-Semitism became a threat, and I followed a fundamental transformation of my four main characters, as the decrease of democracy and fear took over. Was the former politician right when he claimed that “trauma had become a national strategy, and people were led by fear and not by hope”?

The documentary Shadows is a profound universal story about the shadows of the past, how they inflict our lives, countries, continents and our whole future, if we don’t break or disperse them.

The documentary Shadows is a contribution to the debate of the need of dialogue and meetings despite differences of cultural and religious values. The need to face and break the shadows of one´s life and transform the pain into a dialogue with the other.

Anne Gyrithe Bonne (M.A.), 2017.