Evidence of secret Jewish histories crops up like unsolved mysteries in EXPULSION and MEMORY: DESCENDANTS OF THE HIDDEN JEWS. A 12-year-old Spanish boy describes the last days of the Jews in his village - some 500 years ago - as if he saw it yesterday; a Catholic woman in New Mexico recalls how her grandmother lit candles on Friday night; and in Belmonte, Portugal a hidden Jewish community prays openly for the first time. These are the descendants of conversos, Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism to survive the ethnic cleansing that began in Spain in 1492. But these individuals continued to practice Judaism covertly. Remarkably, traces of converso Judaism survive today, having been passed down secretly, sometimes subconsciously, from generation to generation. Through emotional interviews with previously silent subjects, the film, from director Simcha Jacobovici of DEADLY CURRENTS ( JFF, 1993), offers powerful moments of spiritual discovery that almost seem like the lifting of a centuries-old mask.
Simcha Jacobovici is a documentary director and producer. His numerous international awards include a Certificate of Special Merit from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a Genie Award, A Gold Medal from the International Documentary Festival of Nyon, and two U.S. Cable Ace Awards.
His most recent credits include
BONES OF CONTENTION,
A CHILD'S GRIEF,
THE PLAGUE MONKEYS,
EXPULSION AND MEMORY:
DESCENDANTS OF HIDDEN JEWS,
THE PLAGUE FIGHTERS / EBOLA: INSIDE AN OUTBREAK and
JEWS IN RUSSIA:
AN AMERICAN HOLY WAR.
A 1953 Israeli-born Canadian, Mr. Jacobovici who speaks four languages, left Israel as a child and returned as an adult to serve in the Israeli military. He studied Philosophy at McGill University and holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Toronto.,