"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.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

More than a standard portrait of a woman war vet

The War of Raya Sinitsina, debut documentary film by Efim Graboy, is a film about how the horrors of war stay with you all your life.  It is the study of a feisty and quirky woman, Raya, well over the age of 90, who is living with her memories of the past, her loneliness, her fear of dying, her dreams and her fear of being forgotten. 

Raya is an immigrant from the FSU, active in a group of World War II Russian vets, who suffers true sadness as members of the group are growing older and their numbers dwindle. She talks about the period of the siege of Leningrad as if it were yesterday, the memories still vivid in her mind.  Over the course of the production of the film, she builds a strong relationship with the filmmaker – and with the film viewer!

On the one hand, this is a look at the banality of her life and her everyday routine.  On the other hand, there is nothing standard about this film!  It is more than a documentary film about a woman war vet.  It also combines elements of an art film, with a striking portrayal of a remarkable woman.  Raya compares herself to a flower which is wilting, trying to remain true to herself, even though her petals are drying up.  Quite evocative!

The War of Raya Sinitsina (documentary, 2020, 88 minutes) was a prizewinner at last year’s DocAviv festival and is available from Yahaly Gat, the producer, at Muse productions --  muse.prod1@gmail.com

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