In order to confront the ghosts that haunt him, Palestinian director Raed Andoni assembles an eclectic group of ex-prisoners to build a replicate of Al-Moskobiya, Israel’s main interrogation center, where he was himself jailed at age 18. From fragmentary memory, day after day, they give shape to the interrogation center they all experienced, and re-enact its stories. As the walls of the cells rise, the tongues and the emotions loosen.
In Palestine, more than four in ten men are, at least once in their life, either arrested or investigated in Israeli prisons. The youngest among them are only 12 years old. The investigation centers are the breeding ground that produces many legendary stories about heroism and victory, and a lot of “shameful” stories about weakness and defeat as well. This common matrix serves as a lesson in domination – domination by the other, and of the self. However, the relationships that are built on the values of strength and weakness, dominant and subordinate, once experienced, repeat themselves endlessly, both in and out of prison. This reality is seldom expressed and the traumas land in the bottom of the souls. This film was born out of a need to express it. By allowing others the space to tell their own stories of incarceration, I’m able to gather details to help unlock this mystery. My personal quest is to rebuild Al-Moscobiya and attempt to take control of my former submission. Far from wishing for an objective and comprehensive reconstruction of the place of detention and methods used by Israeli interrogators, I propose a framework where everyone is free to relive their experience, as long as they participate: by building the jail, playing the role of another, or sharing the memories that continue to haunt them. This project is about addressing the traumatic experience of torture and changing its perspective, in order to free, or at least discover another part of oneself.