This Land is Mine is a remarkable animation set to a song in the style of a musical by artist Nina Paley. Beginning with the very first settlers in the land over time variously named Canaan, The Levant, Israel and Palestine, we see a succession of warriors and colonialists laying claim to what has proved to be one of history’s most disputed and conflict-ridden territories on the planet. From early cavemen to Assyrians to Macedonians, Ottoman Turks and many more, right up to the Hamas insurgents and Jewish Israeli settlers currently battling each other, this bloody cartoon is like a (admittedly simplified) compacted history of the region’s conflicts.
With numerous territorial wars currently causing death and misery across the globe, this film couldn’t be more relevant. A depressing look at humanity, or human history, perhaps. But if those leading and perpetuating today’s conflicts could step back and take an overview like this (noting in particular the film’s sober conclusion) they might realise that no amount of time, or coming and going of empires will ever quell the human urge to subjugate and kill for territory. Justified by claims of entitlement and ownership, the cycles of violence go on and in the long run, nothing really changes.
The Exodus Song (AKA This Land is Mine) by Andy Williams provides a fitting backing track. For more information about Nina Paley, the creator, along with a guide to the different peoples represented in the film, check out her blog. But don’t read it before seeing the film, or you’ll spoil the twist!