Documentary | CH/D | 2002
53rd Hof International Film Festival
A cinematic reflection on the clichés of “the Jews” and “the Arabs” in the last hundred years of film, connected with the biographies of extraordinary people: Iraqi-Jewish Communists. Jewish Arabs? Arab Jews? Sephardim? Mizrahim? Samir tells a forgotten story from the Middle East: the emigration of Iraqi Jews to Israel. A debate has only recently been taking place in Israel: Oriental Jews criticize their instrumentalization by Israel’s European-influenced founding generation.
Samir, himself a child of Iraqi immigrants to Switzerland, interviews five prominent Arab Jews of Iraqi origin: Ella Shohat, film historian; Shimon Ballas, professor of Arabic literature and civil rights activist; Sami Michael, bestselling author; Moshe Houri, building contractor; and Samir Naqash, award-winning author of unpublished Arab novels. Four former Iraqi communists remember life in Baghdad, the revolutionary policies of the 1940s and 1950s, and the humiliating reception in Israel.