1 L’chaim 1910 (9’20”) dir A. Mietr and K. Ganzer
The first film made that shows Jewish life from the inside. For the first time in cinema Jews were represented as real characters, not stereotypes. Considered to be the “birth” of Jewish cinema.
Based on a Jewish folk song.
Rukhele’s parents make her marry rich Matteus, but she loves poor Shlomo. In two years Rukhl has a child but she can’t forget Shlomo and so she leaves Matteus taking her child with to be with her lover. Matteus starts to drink. Years pass and a beautiful rich woman and child pay a surprise visit to the alcoholic Matteus. After they leave Matteus finds a note from his guests explaining that it was his Rukhele and their daughter. She wanted her daughter to see her father.
2 Sara’s Grief 1913 (13’43”) dir A. Arkatov
The director of this film wrote the screenplay for L’chaim. One of the first Jewish cinema dramas about moral, religious and emotional ethics.
The doctor’s diagnosis for Sara and Isaak changed their lives completely. Unable to have children, Isaak visits his Rabbi who tells his that according to Jewish law, they must divorce. Isaak can’t bear this failure of their marriage. Overcome with grief, he commits suicide. After some time Sara realises that she is pregnant, but there is no comfort for her own torment.
3 Jews and the Land 1927 (17’46”) dir Abram Room
This extraordinary documentary describes Soviet Russia’s attempt to create a colony of collective farms of Jews, in Crimea in the 1920s. It is the only remaining art document of this fascinating period of Jewish (and Soviet) history. The film shows Jews working the land, handling animals, driving tractors! The text was written by a famous Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.