Release dateSeptember 26, 1987 (1987-09-26) (Tokyo International Film Festival)
January 13, 1989 (1989-01-13) (US)
January 30, 1990 (1990-01-30) (France) WriterBenny Barbash, Eran Preis
Unsettled Land (Hebrew: החולמים, lit.The Dreamers; also known as Once We Were Dreamers) is a 1987 Israeli drama directed by Uri Barbash.
The film premiered in the International Competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival and was selected to be shown at the Israel Film Festival in New York. It also won awards for Best Cinematography (Amnon Salomon) and Best Art Direction (Eitan Levy) at the Israel Film Center.
In 1919, a group of idealistic Jewish pioneers from Europe, including Austrian doctor Anda (Kelly McGillis) and her Russian violinist lover Marcus (John Shea) who was a former yeshiva student and became a fervent Labor Zionist after the murder of his family in a pogrom, arrive in Palestine and attempt to establish a kibbutz in the Galilee. Their dream ends up shattered as they attempt to cope with the hardships of the land, sexual and ideological tensions within the group, and hostile confrontations with their Arab neighbours. Finally, the film dramatizes their disappointment as they must come to terms with the gaps between their utopian vision and reality.
As Miri Talmon has noted, the film "makes a clear intergenerational connection between the ‘pioneers’ and the shattering of the dream, which is the experience that the audience and the individual filmgoer faced at the end of the eighties.”
Kelly McGillis as Anda
John Shea as Marcus
Christine Boisson as Sima
Arnon Zadok as Amnon
Robert Pollock as Yulek
Sinai Peter as Daniel
Neta Moran as Temma
Amos Lavi as Muhammed
Boris Rimmer as Avrum
Alan Bergreen as Natan
Martha Arden as Rosa
Rachel Amran as Maha
Avi Gouetta as Salim Assistant 2
Yossi Ashdot as Shepard
Despite its rather large budget and Hollywood stars, the film did poorly at the box office and garnered poor reviews.