The Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut are familiar territory to Dutch filmmaker George Sluizer, who directed three documentary films there between 1974 and 1983. Those films follow the lives of two families in the camps - families who eventually adopted Sluizer as one of their own. Recently, after a devastating accident, Sluizer returned to the camps to track these families' destinies more than 25 years later. On crutches, he treads the winding narrow streets of the camp, resolute in spite of the hardship. Now 92, the elder of the two fathers is moved to tears at their reunion, and greets Sluizer like a son coming home. Footage from the earlier films narrates the families' stories, the traumatic chapters of the Lebanese Civil War, the desperate impasse of the peace talks today - but also the stories of family members who have been killed and those who have emigrated. Sluizer films those who have stayed in the camp, searching for what remains of their dreams, ambitions and hopes. It is no surprise that the same questions persist: returning to the homeland, living with dignity. Homeland is not intended to be epic in its scope, yet when the history of a people is scaled down so masterfully to the fate of a family and its individuals, the simplicity and profundity of the chronicle delivers an emotional charge that resonates deeply.
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