"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, October 16, 2016

Child Brides

Child Mother, directed by Yael Kipper and Ronen Zaretzky, is a compelling documentary film made in a minimalist style, which tells an extraordinary story.  This is a film about Israeli women, today in their 80s, who were married off at very young ages.

Esther, born in Morocco, 84-years-old, sits in her apartment in Jerusalem, telling her story to her daughter Sima.  She was 12-years-old when her father married her off.  At first, she thought it would be fun – new clothes and a big celebration.  But when she realized what her new husband wanted from her, she ran away.  When he found her, he took her by force.  

Naomi was born in Yemen.  Hana was born in Morocco.  Ziona, from Yemen, had 12 children and lost her first child in childbirth. 

These women talk of loveless marriages, of painful memories, of multiple miscarriages, of husbands who were 40 years older.  When they came to Israel, their husbands were already older men and, as a result, the women had to work hard to support the family.  One woman cleaned houses, away from home for days at a time.  Another worked planting trees for the JNF.

These are painful stories of tragic childhoods, of motherhood at young ages, of little girls forced to live with cruel mothers-in-law, of living in fear of their husbands.  In many cases, these are stories that were never told – mothers keeping their stories secret from their children out of shame and a deep-seated need to forget. 

One grown daughter, now 60-years-old, begs her mother for a hug and a kiss.  But her mother tells her that she was never hugged or kissed as a child and as a result does not like to be touched.  Through tears, they are finally able to cling to each other. 

Child Mother was the winner of a Special Jury Mention at the Doc Aviv film festival.  According to the jury:  "The film Child Mother delicately reveals the harsh story of women who, as young girls, were given to much older men and enslaved by them, in the name of tradition. The filmmakers succeed in portraying a complex, complicated and important story – through multiple layers of concealment, denial and shame. A story that echoes and has existed from ancient times to our own days."

Child Mother (documentary, 89 minutes), is available from Michael Treves JMT Films.
Watch the trailer! 

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