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Trends and History of Israeli Cinema Steven Stromberg Neal Ballard The Yishuv Period (Pre-Statehood) Late 19 th Century – 1948 Edison and the Lumiere brothers (as well as other outside filmmakers) came to Palestine to shoot “exotic” footage. Films were imported from Europe and America

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trends and history of israeli cinema

Trends and History of Israeli Cinema

Steven Stromberg

Neal Ballard

the yishuv period pre statehood
The Yishuv Period (Pre-Statehood)
  • Late 19th Century – 1948
  • Edison and the Lumiere brothers (as well as other outside filmmakers) came to Palestine to shoot “exotic” footage.
  • Films were imported from Europe and America
  • The beginnings of the Israeli film industry: travelogues, documentaries and eventually narrative films.
  • Most productions were influenced and supported by Zionist movement.
  • Archetypal character of the Sabra (native-born Israeli) is introduced.
  • Films contributed to renewal of Hebrew as a secular language.
important filmmakers and films of the yishuv period
Important Filmmakers and Films of the Yishuv period.
  • Nathan Axelrod (1905 – 1987)
    • Oded the Wanderer (1933)
    • Over the Ruins (1938)
  • Baruch Agadati (1895 – 1976)
    • This Is the Land (1935)
    • AGA Film Co. Oded the Wanderer
  • Important Films
    • Oded the Wanderer (1933)
    • Sabra (d. Aleksander Ford) (1933)

Sabra

post 1948 heroic nationalist genre
Post 1948: Heroic-Nationalist Genre
  • Practically no narrative films were made between 1933 and the creation of the State of Israel
  • Films reflected issues in Israeli society:
    • Large numbers of new immigrants
    • Zionism
    • Heroes of the War of Independence
    • Memories of the Holocaust
    • Six Day War
  • Serious limitations on production
  • Films produced primarily for audiences abroad
  • Focused primarily on the Arab / Israeli conflict
    • Arab roles were either very stereotypically anonymous or negatively portrayed
  • Post 1967 War:
    • Americanization of Israeli culture and films
    • More epic films / larger budgets reflecting post war economic prosperity
important filmmakers and films of heroic nationalist genre
Important Filmmakers and Films of Heroic – Nationalist genre
  • Many producers and directors were recent immigrants to Israel.
  • Larry Frisch
    • Tel Aviv Taxi (1954)
    • Pillar of Fire (1959)
  • Thorold Dickinson
    • The Red Background (1953)
    • Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955) Pillar of Fire
  • Nuri Habib
    • Without a Homeland (1952)
      • (First color film in Israel)
    • Rachel (1958)
  • Important Films
    • Rebels Against the Light (1964)
    • Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955) Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer
bourekas escapism
“Bourekas” / Escapism
  • Mostly 70s and 80s
  • Deals with ethnic stereotypes (interplay between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews)
  • Filmmakers wanted to address the needs of the Sephardi Jews because they were becoming the majority
  • Low budget ethnic comedies, heavily emotional melodramas, ethnic nostalgia, teen sex comedies, and light entertainment
  • Retreat from old Zionist values
  • Severe criticism because of little cinematic or artistic sophistication
important filmmakers and films of bourekas escapist cinema
Important filmmakers and films of “Bourekas” / Escapist Cinema
  • George Ovadiah
    • Harbour of Love (1967)
    • Arianna (1971)
  • Ze’ev Revach
    • Only Today (1976)
    • Batito (1987) Sallah
  • Important Films
    • Sallah (1964)
        • (d. Ephraim Kishom)
    • Light Out of Nowhere (1973)
        • (d. Nissim Dayan)
    • House on Chelouche Street (1973)
        • (d. Mose Mizrachi) Light Out of Nowhere
personal allegorical cinema
Personal & Allegorical Cinema
  • Counter-response to “Boureka/Escapist” and National-Heroic Genres of film
  • Younger generation of Israeli filmmakers (1960s – 1970s)
    • “Kayitz” movement
    • Influenced by French New Wave; many studied in Paris
  • Individual Issues:
    • Disillusionment / “ideology-of-having-no-ideology”
    • Marginality of the protagonist.
    • Criticism of Society
  • Issues in Israeli Society:
    • Individual vs. National Identity; the personal/political and the private/historical are linked together.
      • What defines the state of Israel (shifting borders)? / Who is a Jew (many diasporas)?
    • Post-Holocaust Jewish survival
    • Individual characters can be representative of the state.
important filmmakers and films in personal allegorical cinema
Important Filmmakers and Films in Personal & Allegorical Cinema
  • Uri Zohar
    • Hole in the Moon (1965)
    • Three Days and a Child (1967)
  • Dan Wolman (1941- ) Hole in the Moon
    • The Dreamer (1970)
    • My Michael (1975)

My Michael

return of the repressed the palestinian wave
Return of the Repressed: The Palestinian Wave
  • Student films began focusing on Israeli/Arab conflict in new ways.
  • Films began to include Palestinian characters (mostly in minor roles).
  • Films operate w/in a general framework and assumption of Zionism and Arab/Israeli conflict as a given.
  • Wider social and cultural perspectives; dependant on equality between “Oriental” Jews, European Jews and Palestinian Arabs
important films and filmmakers in the palestinian wave of cinema
Important Films and Filmmakers in the Palestinian Wave of Cinema
  • Uri Barabash
    • Beyond the Walls (1985)
  • Nissim Dayan
    • A Very Narrow Bridge (1985) Beyond the Walls
  • Shimon Dotan
    • The Smile of the Lamb (1986)
    • Avanti-Popolo (1986)

A Very Narrow Bridge

observations
Observations
  • Israeli Film History and Genres somewhat parallel American/Hollywood Films
    • National-Heroic = John Wayne, John Ford
    • Bourekas/Escapist = Howard Hawkes, Billy Wilder
    • Personal/Allegorical = Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Copolla, etc.