Israel: A Home Movie (2013)

Israel: A Home Movie

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Opened: 07/10/2013 Limited

Film Forum/NYC07/10/2013 - 07/16/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Israeli Documentary (Hebrew w/English subtitles)

Rated: Unrated


Israel: A Home Movie weaves together stunning home movie footage from the early years of Israel up until the late 70's, to offer a critical look at the history of the Jewish state. Showing the birth of one nation and the exile of another, the film goes on to capture the development of Israeli society within the first 30 years of the country. The images recount history from a complex Zionist perspective, revealing Israel's tangled past.

Over the last decade,hundreds of hours of home movie footage have been gathered, captured by amateur photographers for the sole purpose of documenting the most important moments in their families' lives. Searching through locked drawers, dilapidated cellars, and cluttered attics, reels upon reels of original 8mm, 16mm and Super 8 film have been salvaged, all tell the story of Israel from the early part of the 20th century.

The film intertwines day to day life with significant moments in the history of this volatile area from the 1930's to the 1970's. Presenting daily life, celebrations, and vacations -- alongside decisive historical milestones, the film offers a personal interpretation of Israel's history.

The footage shows firsthand accounts of pivotal events including the waves of Jewish immigration in the 1930's and 40's, Palestine during the years of the Holocaust, the declining relationship and rising tensions between Jews and Arabs, and the outbreak and decimation of the 1948 War. The film goes on to show the mass absorption of Jewish immigrants in the 1950's, the trauma of the Holocaust survivors, the Six Day War and its euphoric aftermath, Israel in the swinging 60's and 70's, the Yom Kippur War, the rise of the settlement movement in the territories, and the historic visit of Egypt's President to Israel.

Israel: A Home Movie recounts history not from an official perspective, but instead tells the vast story of a people, a land, an era and a conflict, from an intimate lens. The film's power lies in its ability to simultaneously evoke a sense of nostalgia and profound political unease. The images present a vivid collage, achieved through cinematic editing of the commonplace, exposing an untold and alternative narrative of Israel's history.