They Were Promised the Sea
Directed by Kathy Wazana
They Were Promised the Sea is the story of the complexity of Arab Jewish identity. The film is a stunning visual, lyrical and musical meditation on loss and longing, hope and the possibilities of coexistence. Informed by the director’s family history, the film investigates the circumstances surrounding the mass migration of Jews from Morocco, an exodus inextricably linked to the dispossession and exile of the Palestinian people. Startling interviews with witnesses to the evacuation campaign orchestrated by Israel, and Jewish Moroccans who chose to stay as well as some who left, challenge the commonly-held belief that Jews were expelled or forced to leave Morocco. Live-performance recordings of Andalusian and Sephardic music in Arabic, Ladino and Hebrew, thread the subjects’ storylines and reveal a little-known history of a people who resisted the separation of Arab and Jew, and a country still grieving the loss of its Jewish population.
Casablanca-born filmmaker Kathy Wazana set out to discover why hundreds of thousands of Jews left Morocco in the 1960s, believing their Arab homeland had become enemy territory. What she found was a country still grieving the loss of its Jewish population. Her “enemy” welcomed her home and claimed her as one of their own.
Cinematographer: Ali Kazimi, Zoe Dirse, Martin Duckworth, Natasha Dudinski, Richard Fung, Kathy Wazana
Producer: Kathy Wazana
Editor: Ricardo Acosta, Gary Popovitch, Kimberley Hassett
Music: Françoise Atlant, Abderrahim Abdelmoumen, Rabbi Haïm Louk, Si Thami Harrak, Jojo Ohayon