It is a cold winter’s night in Hebron. A group of soldiers arrives for a routine night search of the al-Haddad home, for reasons unknown to the family. Diaa and Shatha al-Haddad, brother and sister, pick up the home video camera and record the events as they unfold throughout the night. The soldiers force Diaa to stand facing a wall, saying they won’t leave unless he stops smiling.
A film by:
The al-Haddad family
The film was produced by B’Tselem – The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
About the film:
The al-Haddads live in Tel Rumeidah, a neighborhood in the West Bank city of Hebron. Several years ago the family received a video camera from Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem to document the reality of their life under Israeli occupation.
Diaa and Shatah, two of the al-Haddad children, were particularly excited by the opportunity of learning to film, and soon began making a visual record of the environment they live in. The material they captured, like that of other camera volunteers, has become integral to the way the West Bank is portrayed in Israeli and international media. These images have an impact on the reality of life in the West Bank, and they are often used as evidence in military courts.
One night, a group of Israeli soldiers showed up at the al-Haddad home. The soldiers do not need a warrant to search a Palestinian home, and this type of search is conducted frequently. Often enough the family whose home is being searched does not know the reason for the search. Diaa and Shatah got the camera right way, and set the camera rolling.
Smile, and the World Will Smile Back was edited with minimal intervention, keeping as close as possible to the rawness of the original footage filmed that night. The film was made as a collaborative effort between the al-Haddads and B’Tselem film-makers Yoav Gross and Ehab Tarabieh.