At a screening last night at Beit Avi Chai in the series, Women Make Movies, we screened The Cemetery Club, directed by Tali Shemesh (2006) מועדון בית הקברות. This is a documentary look at two older women – the filmmaker's grandmother and her Aunt Lena – women who had to sacrifice and work hard during the early years of the state. The film looks at their relationship, their idiosyncrasies, and their group of friends, all German-speaking immigrants who get together once a week at Mt. Herzl, to read poetry and talk about current events. This is a film about aging and loneliness, a tribute to the members of the Holocaust generation who were an intrinsic part of the founding years of the state.
The filmmaker talked about the intimacy, the challenges and the advantages of working with subjects who are members of your close family. These quirky women -- one has dedicated her life to family, the other to her career -- came with the filmmaker for a discussion with the audience. Why did they choose to meet at Mt. Herzl for all those years? Lena told the audience that it was because they had found such a perfect spot between two old trees. Obviously, however, they had found a place heavy with symbolism, a place that spoke to them of the sacrifices that they made, while it gave them comfort to sit in the shade of the strength of the nation that they helped to create.
The film is available from The Third Ear in Israel or via Norma Productions at www.norma.co.il