"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Druze Community of Israel

The Israeli Druze community is a religious minority living mainly in the northern Galilee, which numbers more than 100,000 and its male members generally serve in the Israeli army.  The community is very traditional and its religious leaders keep a strict hold on the members especially vis-a-vis outside cultural influences. 
Adi Adwan is a Druze filmmaker whose first feature, Arabani, premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival last week. The film is a touching family story against the backdrop of this community and the stunning landscape of the mountainous northern Galilee.  This is the portrayal of a Druze man, Yosef, who years ago married a Jewish woman and left his family and community.  Now, after his divorce, he returns to the village where he grew up, to his mother's home, together with his two teenage children. 

At first, the grandmother is hesitant to accept them and soon we see that there is much tension within the village due to the fact that he has returned, that his daughter walks around immodestly dressed, and his son hangs out with the local teens.  Eventually the daughter and the grandmother forge a warm relationship, but the grandmother is ostracized from the rest of the community due to the fact that she has accepted Yosef back into her home. 

The locals and their religious leaders make it very hard for Yosef and his family and they are eventually forced to leave.  This is a critical portrayal of a traditional and closed community, which is not exactly welcoming or forgiving.   
The film includes a number of moving and dramatic scenes which perhaps make up for the lack of complexity of script.  

Arabani is available from the film producer, Itai Tamir, itai@laila-films.com

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