“Cinema Sabaya” may look and feel like a documentary, but it is a feature film, written and directed by Orit Fouks Rotem and featuring actors playing the participants in an experimental co-existence project designed to span the seemingly unbridgeable chasm separating Israelis and Palestinians.
This award-winning Israeli film, recently screened at the Boulder International Film Festival, stars Dana Ivgy (“Zero Motivation”) as a filmmaker from Tel Aviv who is running a video workshop for Arab and Jewish women in a small town in northern Israel.
In her feature film debut, Fouks Rotem took inspiration from her mother’s participation in a similar course, and testimonies from actual participants inform her fictionalized script. As each student shares footage from her home life, beliefs and preconceptions are challenged, and barriers are broken down. The group (“sabaya”) comes together as mothers, daughters, wives, and women, forming an empowering bond as they learn more about each other and themselves.
“Cinema Sabaya” was Israel’s Official Submission to the 95th Academy Awards and is the winner of five Ophir Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress (Joanna Said).
Join Kathryn Bernheimer, Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, for a talkback following the 7 pm screening at the Dairy Arts Center’s Boedecker Theater on Wednesday May 17. The film will also screen at the Boe on Thursday, May 18, at 2:30 pm, on Friday, May 19, at 6:30 pm, and on Saturday, May 20, at 4 pm.
Not rated. In Hebrew, Arabic and English, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes.
“I think that the film offers a rare glimpse to the hidden depths of the lives of Jewish and Palestinian women, where their central point of convergence, the most profound thing they had in common, is simply being a woman. This turned out to be stronger than their religion or cultural world. I hope the film will offer an intimate and empowering conversation, not ignoring the different backgrounds, but rather proving that this does not provide an obstacle to creating deep connections and true friendships. Women who want their stories to be heard, but are scared, or are unable, to tell them in the first person. Therefore, this is a film that also deals with the power of cinema.”— Orit Fouks Rotem