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A History of Israeli Cinema (Part 2)

Directed by: Raphaël Nadjari
100 Minutes, 2009, Documentary

A History of Israeli Cinema tells the story of the building of a gaze on a society torn by ethnics, religious, and political conflicts. It attempts to understand, to denounce or to explore these complex subjects, always searching for the right ethic, the right form: to explore or transform its own definition and its place in the world. A History of Israeli Cinema is the result of years of research, studies, documentation, screening, interviews, some recorded, some to learn, to understand, to unfold. Actors, thinkers, producers, filmmakers, professors, critics negotiated to build a narrative that remains fragile and incomplete. It is the process rather than the result that is shared here. The first episode (1933 – 1978) starts with the Zionist movement and ends with the first re-visitation of that history. The second episode (1978 – 2005) starts at the beginning of the political wave until the more recent personal cinema. However chronological, both episodes cover most of the genres, themes and periods of Israeli cinema—from the beginning of the Zionist Movement to the most personal stories—from commercial to politically engaged directors, from the local to the universal.

Watch Part 1 here.


Award-winning filmmaker Raphaël Nadjari (Tehilim, SFJFF 2008) weaves together in-depth research and extraordinary film clips spanning more than 60 years to give us a kaleidoscopic visual retelling of the history of a national cinema. Dividing his film chronologically, Nadjari has crafted an assemblage of fascinating interviews with leading Israeli actors, producers, film critics, scholars and filmmakers, laced with film sequences spanning early silent films to the present-day renaissance of the Israeli film industry. Part One begins in 1933 with visions of the Zionist dream and takes us to 1978, when themes of memory and loss share the spotlight. The second part, from 1978 to 2005, vibrantly depicts the wave of political films from the 1980s contrasted to the more personal cinema of today. Interviewees include Amos Gitai, Joseph Cedar, Avi Mograbi, Yehuda Ne’eman, Menachem Golan, Moshe Ivgy, Ronit Elkabetz and Zeev Revach. A “must see” for any fan of Israeli cinema and a fabulous introduction for the uninitiated.  —Janis Plotkin, Mill Valley Film Festival