the jews and the movies

by tobybee

good jews of melbourne! what are you up to on thursday eve? thinking that you’d like to gather together with a group of progressive jews living on the northside and watch a movie and then have an interesting/challenging/insightful/wonderful discussion about it? well – you’re in luck!

a group of us came up with the idea to organise a northside progressive jewish film club, and the first gathering is this thursday. here are the details (also available on facebook, where you can let us know if you’re coming):

Inaugural Gathering of the Northside Progressive Jewish Film Club!!

date: Thursday 1 November
time: 8pm
venue: Longplay, 318 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North (just south of Holden St)

Come together for a film and discussion: we’ll watch ‘Arna’s Children’, a film about a theatre group in the West Bank, and talk about the many issues raised.

We’re hoping that this will become a regular film/discussion event. Come join us for the first one!

All welcome

About the movie:

ARNA’S CHILDREN tells the story of a theatre group established by Arna Mer Khamis. Arna was a jewish political and human rights activist from a Zionist family who in the 1950s married a Palestinian Arab, Saliba Khamis.

In the 1980’s Arna founded an alternative education system in Jenin for children whose regular life was disrupted by the Israeli occupation. In order to help the children express their everyday frustrations, anger, bitterness and fear Arna began a theatre group, which became an important part of many children’s lives.

Arna’s son Juliano, the director of this film, was also one of the directors of Jenin’s theatre. With his camera, he filmed the children during rehearsal periods from 1989 to 1996. In the film, Juliano goes back to Jenin in 2002/3 to see what happened to them in the midst of intense violence of the second intifada. Yussef had committed a suicide attack in Hadera in 2001, Ashraf was killed in the battle of Jenin (‘Operation Defensive Shield’) and Alla leads a resistance group.

Juliano, who was one of the leading actors in the region, looks back in time in Jenin, trying to understand the choices made by the children he loved and worked with. Eight years earlier, the theatre was closed and life became static and paralysed. Shifting back and forth in time, the film reveals the tragedy and horror of lives trapped by the circumstances of the Israeli occupation.

The film won “Best Documentary Feature” in the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival.

More info about the film here