A Palestinian family living in northern Galilee gathers to celebrate the wedding of one of their daughters, as war rages between Israel and Lebanon. When the father falls into coma and inches toward death, internal conflicts explode within the family - secrets are revealed and lies are unmasked.
"As a Palestinian born in Israel, I've always wondered about my identity as a woman and an artist who grew up in a traditional society. I felt I was on the margins of non-Arab society in Israel, foreign to its tradition and ways of functioning. Yet I felt just as alienated from traditional Arab society laden with conservative values. The Palestinians of Israel are torn between tradition and modernism. They feel partially excluded from Israel, and therefore try to preserve what is left of their traditions in order to protect this threatened Palestinian identity. They embrace these traditions in a strong family structure that gives them the impression of creating a "true home" In this context, the men take power over the women, giving them little room to build their independence as individuals. Women are forced to fight for a certain form of equality. The path followed by the main character (Hajar) is similar to mine. Hajar struggles against the overbearing social order and refuses to take the path established for her to instead become a free and independent woman and artist. This character is the link between my past and my present, and allows me to envision a future in which History would be the bearer of change. The fact that the story takes place in a context of war allows for the accentuation of the characters' inner conflicts, and thus the revelation of their identity crisis. The war also recalls the memory of the sounds and noises that have accompanied my childhood, my teenage years and my years as a young adult. The film's characters live in a village in Galilee. This village is like the village where I grew up. It bears the visual appearance and the smells that I recollect from my past, that are anchored in my memory. These characters belong to my past, my education, my personal history and my identity. I know them, I've met them and I've confronted them at some point in my life. I wanted to revive them and give them an existence for the public. After all, aren't the questions of family and identity universal?" (Hiam Abbass)
Hiam Abbass (Palestine, 1960) lived in Galilee until the late 1980s when she moved to Paris and began her acting career. The feature films she has since been in include Rashid Masharawi's Haïfa, Raja Amari's Satin rouge, Hany Abu-Assad's Academy Award-nominated Paradise Now, Amos Gitai's Free Zone and Disengagement, and Steven Spielberg's Munich. Hiam Abbass performed in two films by Israeli director Eran Riklis, The Syrian Bride and Lemon Tree. She was critically acclaimed for her performance opposite Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins in Thomas McCarthy's The Visitor (2007). Among her most recent work - Julian Schnabel's Miral (2010) and La source des femmes (2011) by Radu Mihaileanu. Before her debut as a film director with Heritage, Abbass directed and wrote two short films, Le pain and La danse éternelle.