The Long Way Home 1997
Distributed by Seventh Art Releasing, 7551 Sunset Blvd., Suite 104, Los Angeles, CA 90046; 323-845-1455
Produced by Marvin Hier and Richard Trank
Directed by Mark Jonathan Harris
VHS, color, 88 min.
Sr. High - Adult
European Studies, History, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, International Relations, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, World War II
Date Entered: 11/09/2018Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
Chronicling the turbulent years between 1945 and 1948, this feature-length documentary effectively utilizes archival film footage and personal narrative to describe events that continue to significantly impact the course of modern history. During the spring of 1945 allied forces liberated occupied territory and freed concentration camp prisoners throughout central Europe, leaving 11 million refugees struggling to return to the homes, families and lives that existed before the war. For the 100,000 Jews who survived the Holocaust, most remnants of the past were gone. Hoping to migrate to Palestine to escape the horrors of Europe and to start new lives, the DP’s or displaced persons were thwarted by colonial British foreign policy limiting immigration. During the next two years, organized resistance and conflict grew, resulting in British departure from the area, partition of Palestine by the United Nations and creation of the Jewish state of Israel.
Played out on the world’s stage, this account of events combines individual descriptions of liberation, displacement, immigration, resistance and survival with global political movements and larger than life heroes and villains. Narrated by Morgan Freeman and interweaving oral histories and interviews with survivors, the film is of the highest technical quality. The extensive and flawlessly edited archival newsreel footage is outstanding. Produced under the auspices of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its film division, Moriah Films, The Long Way Home powerfully tells a story that continues to have relevance and far-reaching effects more than fifty years later. This film is not, however, an unbiased telling of that story. Recommended with a note about finding balance when studying recent historical and current events.