The Abraham File is a meticulous telling of the story of Abraham from the points of view of Jews, Moslems and Christians. The film returns to Hebron, the burial ground of Issac and the primal source of the conflict between the children of Isaac and the children of Ishmael - Jews and Palestinians. Director Abraham Segal investigates the story of Isaac and follows Abraham through the art, literature and myths of our time. Here the preeminent father's presence is felt in every gesture and shadow Segal eloquently sets before us. An outstanding array of scholars, philosophers and writers help us understand the relevance of Abraham today as his descendants - Jews and Palestinians - struggle to make peace in the Promised Land.
Abraham Ségal was born in Bucharest in 1937 and emigrated with his parents to Israel in 1950. Between 1959 and 1962, he studied history and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he founded and directed the university's film club. Ségal studied filmmaking at Vaugirard Cinema School and I.D.H.E.C. (1962-64) in Paris where he has lived since 1962. He also trained with National French Television. He has been directing documentary films since 1971.
Between 1967 and 1982 he was a writer on the cinema publishing articles, reviews, and interviews in La Revue du Cinéma and CinémAction, and a book on the films of Russian director S. M. Eisenstein, published by Éditions du Chêne in 1972. He wrote numerous film transcripts and slide collections for L’Avant-Scène du Cinéma.
B.A. BA (1971), his first film, a critical look at the school system in France, was awarded the Sadoul Prize’s Special Mention.
YOU HAVE ONLY ONE LIFE (LA VIE, T’EN AS QU’UNE, 1978), merged together interviews and fiction creating a striking portrayal of daily life ten years after May 68. Distributed on the Art et Essai cinema circuit, this film was chosen for several festivals, including Perspectives of French Cinema (Cannes, 1978).
A PHENOMENAL VOYAGE (ALÉSIA ET RETOUR, VOYAGE PHÉNOMÉNAL, 1983), directed for Antenne 2 TV, shows the enforced transformation of a neighbourhood in the 14th district of Paris. First broadcast in 1984 and frequently broadcast since.
OUTSIDE THE WALLS (HORS LES MURS, 3 x 50 min., 1985),coproduced by Antenne 2 TV, shows three experimental psychiatric programs outside mental hospitals and suggests a different vision of the relationship between madness and society.
COLORS FOLLY (COULEURS FOLIE, 1986), a short film about the links between the experience of madness ans pictorial expression, comprises a conversation between the actress Delphine Seyrig and Mary Barnes, painter and co-author of Mary Barnes, Two Accounts of a Journey through Madness.
"FILMS AND FOLLIES FESTIVAL" (1986-87), organised by Abraham Ségal with Dephine Seyrig, the Simone de Beauvoir Audiovisual Centre, and the TRAMES Association for an alternative psychiatry.
VAN GOGH, THE DOUBLE EDGED TRIUMPH (VAN GOGH, LA REVANCHE AMBIGUË, 1989), produced by 13 Production and C.N.R.S. This film portrays the myth of a modern hero, Vincent Van Gogh, and his destiny, a hundred years after his death. Broadcast on TV in several countries and selected for numerous festivals winning First Prize by the Public Jury at the Nyon International Festival of Documentary Film, 1989.
ALL THE COLORS OF THE PALETTE (TOUTES LES COULEURS, 1990) is a film vision of the pictorial adventure of Gérard Fromanger. Coproduction with 13 Production and I.N.A. (National Audiovisual Institute). Broadcast by FR3 in 1992 and by Radio Québec, N.O.S. (Holland), NWYE (New York), Paris Première and other cable networks in France. Numerous festival selections.
SOCRATES OR AUDIMAT? (1995), a short film produced by Canal+ and 13 Production, is a fast interweave of interviews and reflections on the relationships between transvestite and politician, and between TV sensationalist realism and the dramatic truth.
THE ABRAHAM FILE. (ENQUÊTE SUR ABRAHAM, 2 x 52 min., 1996), a documentary film pursuing the traces of an ancient Biblical story amid the layers of cultures. In a dramatic modern setting, shot mostly in Jerusalem and Hebron, it locates and analyses our links with our origins. Broadcast on France 2, and 5th TV Channel. Coproduction : 13 Production, I.N.A., 5th TV Channel, France 2, C.N.D.P. (France), Chaïm Sharir, New Media (Israel) and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation. Festivals: Cinéma du Réel, Paris; View on the Docs, Marseilles, the Jerusalem Film Festival, Film Festival of Mediterranean Cultures, Bastia, Corsica, 1997 New York Jewish Film Festival, 1997 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
Abraham, Inquiry into a Patriarch, essay, for the collection of Jean-Claude Carrière, "God’s Finger" (Le Doigt de Dieu), published by Éditions Plon in November 1995.
THE MYSTERY OF PAUL (LE MYSTÈRE PAUL, 104 mins., 1999), with Didier Sandre as the investigator. Coproduction : Agat Films & Co, Nicolas Rachline (N.B.E.L.), Films en Quête, Strada Production (Greece), Belage (Belgium), Audiovisivi San Paolo (Italy). 1999 Jerusalem Film Festival, 1999 View on the Docs, Marseilles, 2000 New York Jewish Film Festival, 2000 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.