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.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Tonight, Yom HaShoah is
commemorated in Israel.I want to review
here some of the most important films, made in Israel, which honor the memory
of those who perished during that time.
The large masses of
immigrants who arrived in Israel
from Europe during the years following the
Second World War altered the earlier image of the pioneering "new Jew”which had been so prevalent in Israeli
society and in Israeli film.These
Holocaust survivors, who were once stigmatized and learned to be silent about
their wartime experiences and traumas, eventually began to share their
memories.The first groundbreaking film which
altered our view of the Holocaust survivor was the award-winning Summer
of Aviya (Eli Cohen, 1986, fiction) and its sequel, Under the
Domim Tree. The stories of survivors are now honored and heard in
Young Israelis, perhaps
suffering from over-exposure to Holocaust stories and commemorative events, or
from what some have called “Holocaust fatigue”, have learned to grapple with
the importance of memory – one through the use of rock music (Due to that
War, Orna Ben Dor, 1986, about singer, Yehuda Poliker and his lyricist,
Yaakov Gilad, both children of survivors), others through the use of black
humor (Babcha, Micky Zilbershtein,1998), and another through a
chance encounter with a survivor at Dachau (Martin, Ra'anan
Alexandrowicz, 1999). Holocaust consciousness has permeated every aspect of contemporary
Israeli culture – film, literature, politics, music and television, and
Israelis continue to live in an ongoing shadow of the Shoah.
Often, the Arab enemy has been compared to the
Nazis – out to wipe all Israelis and Jews from the face of the earth (Hill
24 Doesn't Answer, Thorold Dickinson, 1954). More recently, however, some Israelis are
tired of seeing Nazis in all of their enemies, and they are standing up and
saying: I'm finished with fighting the Nazis; let's get on with life as normal
(in Eitan Fox and Gal Uchovsky's enormously
successful, Walk on Water, 2003).
In addition, I want to draw attention to the following documentary films which offer some of the most important expressions of memory -- you can find reviews of all of these on this blog --