For My Children

| 65 mins | , ,

Special Presentation: An Afternoon with Film Director Michal Aviad

Introduced by Deborah Kaufman

Since her first film ACTING OUR AGE arrived on the scene at the Sundance Film Festival in 1987, Tel Aviv University film professor and filmmaker Michal Aviad has been known for amazing documentaries that break down the boundaries between personal stories and public histories. Her award-winning works include: THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, filmed during the first Palestinian Intifada; JENNY AND JENNY, following Mizrahi teenagers coming of age in a working-class town; and RAMLEH, about four women in a Jewish-Arab community. The Festival will show clips from her past work preceding the screening of her new film, which will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

In October 2000, as the second Palestinian Intifada erupts, Israeli filmmaker Michal Aviad begins a video exploration about both the moral and mundane dilemmas she faces every day in Tel Aviv. What begins with deceptive simplicity-a tender scene of sending the children off to school-quickly becomes a profound study of vulnerability and anxiety. Small acts like crossing the street are charged with inescapable fear. As the nightmare of violence escalates over the coming months, Michal and her husband Shimshon ask the quintessential Diaspora Jewish question, “When is it time to go?” The question reverberates through a stream of images-public and private, home video and historic archival footage-as her parents and extended family recount their own journeys to Israel from Europe, escaping death and the Holocaust, and from America, out of ideological commitment to Israel. Their stories are told with vivid, beautiful detail-at a bucolic family picnic, during a vacation on the California coast-and with a degree of candor and intimacy rarely seen in Israeli cinema. “I don't want to be an immigrant,” says Shimshon, a political activist whose profound feelings about displacement and exile are interwoven with TV images of war, children asleep in their beds, grandma making pasta and the sounds of sirens. Tanks roll over the hills as tea is being made in the kitchen in a cosmic seesaw between blissful domesticity and the nightmare of public life, in this deeply moving and riveting video essay.

-Deborah Kaufman


Michal Aviad

SFJFF Festival Year