«Jewish Observer»
September 2002
5763 Tishrei

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An exhibition of posters and film reels on the Jewish themes has opened in the Small gallery of Jewish University in Jerusalem (on Skopus Mountain). Materials of the exhibition "Nation of film" are taken from the located in Jerusalem Archives of Jewish cinema named after Steven Spielberg. An archives' specialist Gilel Traster supervises the exhibition.

The exhibition presents over 50 posters tracing a 70-year-old history of Jewish cinema - from 1920's right up to 1990's. A significant place goes to American cash films on Bible subjects, such as "Ben Nar", "King Solomon and queen Savskaya", "Ten Commandments" and others. The second category includes forgotten films of a pre-war Europe: Germany, Poland, Soviet Union and early Hollywood. The exhibition also presents works of later film directors from USA, Germany, Poland, Russia, France, Israel and other countries.

Much attention is paid to enlarged films stills, shooting photos and printed materials. A big part of exhibits is a gift by spouses Miriam and Jerry Faibish from Toronto.

Beside the Spielberg Archives of Jewish cinema, the Zionist archives and Archives of National and university library in Jerusalem also took part in preparing the exhibition. The Jewish themes attracted film producers since cinema emerged - hundreds of reels of different periods of cinema development testify to this. Notwithstanding this, it is impossible to speak about distinct "Jewish" criteria in the world cinema. Miriam Kulik, head of the Spielberg Archives of Jewish cinema, says, "Even a glimpse is sufficient to get ascertained the exhibition organizers faced an extremely difficult task: to determine which of existing films can groundedly be referred to the Jewish category. To find a definite answer to this question is as difficult as to solve the eternal problem - "Who is due to be considered a Jew?"

Yet, the exhibition supervisor Gikel Traster tries to explain criteria of the film selection. "We have decided on three criteria: to recognize as Jewish-related those films in which main hero (or heroes) are Jews; films highlighting Jewish historical events and films dedicated to social, cultural or religious problems characteristic of the Jewish nation (for instance, problems of assimilation or isolationism).

The exhibition will be open for wide public up to December this year.


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