Cinema of Israel

Cinema of Israel
Mograbi theater, Tel Aviv
Cinema of
List of Israeli films
1948 1949
1950 1951
1955 1956 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011

Cinema of Israel (Hebrew: קולנוע ישראליKolnoa Yisraeli) refers to movie production in Israel since its founding in 1948. Most Israeli films are produced in Hebrew. Israel has been nominated for more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film than any other country in the Middle East.



Movies were made in Palestine from the beginning of the silent film era although the development of the local film industry accelerated after the establishment of the state. Early films were mainly documentary or news roundups, shown in Israeli cinemas before the movie started. One of the pioneers of cinema in Israel was Baruch Agadati.[1][2] Agadati purchased cinematographer Yaakov Ben Dov's film archives in 1934 when Ben Dov retired from filmmaking and together with his brother Yitzhak established the AGA Newsreel.[2][3] He directed the early Zionist film entitled This is the Land (1935).[4]

The first film studios were established in Herzliya in the 1950s, among them Geva Films (סרטי גבע) and Israeli Film Studios (אולפני ההסרטה בישראל). In 1954, the Knesset passed the Law for the Encouragement of Israeli Films (החוק לעידוד הסרט הישראלי). Leading filmmakers in the 1960s were Menahem Golan, Ephraim Kishon, and Uri Zohar.

The first Bourekas film was Sallah Shabati, produced by Ephraim Kishon in 1964. In 1965 Uri Zohar produced the film Hole in the Moon, influenced by French New Wave films. During the 1970s, many Bourekas films were made. They were big successes at the box office but panned by the critics. They included comedy films such as Charlie Ve'hetzi and Hagiga B'Snuker and sentimental melodramas such as Nurit. The main subject in most of the Bourekas films was the conflict between various classes and denominations, particularly due to romantic intentions. Prominent filmmakers in this genre during this period include Boaz Davidson, Ze'ev Revach, Yehuda Barkan and George Obadiah.[citation needed]

Shaike Ophir in The Policeman Azoulay

The "New sensitivity" (הרגישות החדשה) movement produced social artistic films such as But Where Is Daniel Wax? by Avraham Heffner. The Policeman Azoulay (Ephraim Kishon), I Love You Rosa and The House on Chelouche Street by Moshé Mizrahi were candidates for a Oscar Award in the foreign film category.[citation needed]

During the 1980s, notable films included: Beyond the Walls (Uri Barbash), Summer of Aviya (Gila Almagor), Avanti Popolo (Rafi Bukai), Late Summer Blues (Renen Schorr), Noa Bat 17 (Yitzhak Yeshurun), Hamsin (Danny Waxman), Shtei Etzbaot Mi'Tzidon (Eli Cohen) and Burning Land (Serge Ankri).[citation needed]

In the 1990s, there was an emergence of films about anti-heroes at the margins of society, such as Amazing Grace by Amos Gutman, which dealt with AIDS patients.[citation needed] Notable films of this period were Life According to Agfa (Asi Dayan), Over the Ocean (Yaacov Goldwasser), Zohar (Eran Riklis), Song of the Siren (Eytan Fox), Lovesick on Nana Street (Savi Gavison), Leylasede (Shemi Zarhin), Afula Express (Julie Shles), Yana's Friends (Arik Kaplun) and Strangers in the Night (Serge Ankri).[citation needed]

In the first decade of the 21st century, several Israeli films won awards in film festivals around the world. Prominent films of this period include: Late Marriage (Dover Koshashvili), Broken Wings (Nir Bergman), Walk on Water and Yossi & Jagger (Eytan Fox), Nina's Tragedies (Savi Gavison), Campfire and Beaufort (Joseph Cedar), Or (My Treasure) (Keren Yedaya), Turn Left at the End of the World (Avi Nesher), The Band's Visit (Eran Kolirin) Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman), Ajami (Scandar Kobti and Yaron Sheni) and more. In 2011, Strangers No More won the Oscar for best Short Documentary.[5]

Genres in Israeli cinema

Bourekas films

Bourekas films (סרטי בורקס) were a film genre popular in the 1960s and 1970s. A central theme was the conflict between Mizrahi Jews and Ashkenazi Jews. The hero was usually a Mizrahi Jew, almost always poor, canny and with street smarts, who comes into conflict with the institutions of the state or figures of Ashkenazi origin - mostly portrayed as rich, conceited, arrogant, cold-hearted and alienated.[citation needed] The term was supposedly coined by the Israeli film director Boaz Davidson, the creator of several such films, as a play-on-words, after "Spaghetti Western:" just as the Western sub-genre was named after a notable dish of its country of filming, so the Israeli genre was named after the notable Israeli dish, Bourekas.[citation needed] Bourekas films are further characterized by accent imitations (particularly of Jewish people originating from Morocco, Persia, and Poland); a combination of melodrama, comedy and slapstick; and alternate identities.[citation needed]

New sensitivity films

The "New sensitivity films" (סרטי הרגישות החדשה) is a movement which started during the 1960s and lasted until the end of the 1970s. The movement sought to create a cinema in modernist cinema with artistic and esthetic values, in the style of the new wave films of the French cinema.[citation needed] One of the most important creators in this genre is Uri Zohar, who directed the films Hor B'Levana (Hole In The Moon) and Shlosha Yamim Veyeled (Three Days and a Child).


Different events occur in Israel which are perceived in the eyes of its residents and many people abroad as events of historical importance. It is relatively easy to shoot movies about these events, because there is a lot of written material about them in Hebrew which could be used as a basis for a script, and because it is relatively easy to cast an Israeli crew which would have a lot of knowledge about these historical events from personal experience. In a long enough historical event, like the First Lebanon War, it is possible to film Docudrama movies about the place and time in which it occurred.[citation needed]


Many Israeli films include songs performed by the actors. However, very few of the films contain both singing and dancing.[citation needed]

Military movies

Many different Israeli films such as drama, Docudrama and comedy films engage in the IDF and in the military way of life.[citation needed] These are often composed of two genres, macho propaganda of fighting men, or "shooting & crying" films.

Holocaust films

Many films about the lives of Holocaust survivors have been made in Israel.

History of Israeli movie theaters

Beit Shemesh movie theater, early 1950s

In the early 1900s, silent movies were screened in sheds, cafes and other temporary structures.[6] In 1905, Cafe Lorenz opened on Jaffa Road in the new Jewish neighborhood of Neve Tzedek. From 1909, the Lorenz family began screening movies at the cafe. In 1925, the Kessem Cinema was housed there for a short time.[7]

In 1966, 2.6 million Israelis went to the cinema over 50 million times. From 1968, when television broadcasting began, theaters began to close down, first in the periphery, then in major cities. 330 standalone theaters were torn down or redesigned as multiplex theaters.[6]

Eden Cinema, Tel Aviv

Eden Cinema, Tel Aviv

The Eden Cinema (Kolnoa Eden) was built in 1914 despite objections by the residents of Ahuzat Bayit, the neighborhood that became Tel Aviv. The owners, Moshe Abarbanel and Mordechai Wieser received a 13-year franchise. During World War I, the theater was shut down by order of the Ottoman government on the pretext that its generator could be used to send messages to enemy submarines off shore. It reopened to the public during the British Mandate and became a hub of cultural and social activity. It closed down in 1974.[6]

Mograbi Cinema, Tel Aviv

The Mograbi Cinema (Kolnoa Mograbi) opened in 1930. It was designed in an art deco style that was popular in cinemas worldwide. The building was roofless for the first few years and was eventually topped with a sliding roof. People gathered in front of the theater to dance in the streets when the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the Partition Plan in November 1947. After a fire in the summer of 1986 due to an electric short-circuit, the building was demolished.[6]

Cinema awards

Cinema festivals

Gila Almagor and Claude Lanzmann, Jerusalem Film Festival

See also


  1. ^ Amos Oz, Barbara Harshav (2000). "The silence of heaven: Agnon's fear of God". Princeton University Press. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Oliver Leaman (2001). Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (1997). Filmexil. Hentrich. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  4. ^ Gary Hoppenstand (2007). The Greenwood encyclopedia of world popular culture, Volume 4. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ Film about Tel Aviv school wins Academy Award
  6. ^ a b c d "Cinemas in Eretz Yisrael". 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  7. ^ Feferman, Bob. "Reviving Tel Aviv's Valhalla". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 

Further reading

  • Israel Studies 4.1, Spring 1999 - Special Section: Films in Israeli Society(pp96-187)
  • Kamal Abdel-Malek, The Rhetoric of Violence: Arab-Jewish Encounters in Contemporary Palestinian Literature and Film, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
  • Amy Kronish, World cinema: Israel, Trowbridge, Wiltshire : Flicks Books [etc.], 1996
  • Amy Kronish and Costel Safirman, Israeli film : a reference guide, Westport, Conn. [etc.] : Praeger, 2003
  • Gilad Padva. Israel, Filmmaking. In Gestner, David Ed.), Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Contemporary Cultures (pp. 312-313). New York and London: Routledge, 2005
  • Gilad Padva. Discursive Identities in the (R)evolution of the New Israeli Queer Cinema. In Talmon, Miri and Peleg, Yaron (Eds.), Israeli Cinema: Identities in Motion (pp. 313-325). Austin, TX: Texas University Press, 2011
  • Ray Privett, Amos Gitai: Exile and Atonement, New York: Cinema Purgatorio, 2008.
  • Raz Ysef, Beyond flesh : queer masculinities and nationalism in Israeli cinema, New Brunswick, NJ [etc.] : Rutgers Univ. Press, 2004
  • Ella Shohat, Israeli cinema : East West and the politics of representation, Austin : Univ. of Texas Pr., 1989 ( an updated new edition will be published by I B Tauris & Co Ltd in 2010)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cinema of West Asia — West Asian cinema Cinema of Armenia Cinema of Azerbaijan Cinema of Bahrain Cinema of Cyprus Cinema of Georgia Cinema of Iran Iranian New Wave …   Wikipedia

  • Israel — This article is about the modern country. For other uses, see Israel (disambiguation). State of Israel …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Palestine — West Asian cinema Cinema of Armenia Cinema of Azerbaijan Cinema of Bahrain Cinema of Cyprus Cinema of Georgia Cinema of Iran Iranian New Wave …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Asia — Asian cinema East Asian cinema Cinema of China Cinema of Hong Kong Cinema of Japan Cinema of Korea …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Iran — Persian Arts Visual Arts Painting …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Afghanistan — West Asian cinema Cinema of Armenia Cinema of Azerbaijan Cinema of Bahrain Cinema of Cyprus Cinema of Georgia Cinema of Iran Iranian New Wave …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Syria — West Asian cinema Cinema of Armenia Cinema of Azerbaijan Cinema of Bahrain Cinema of Cyprus Cinema of Georgia Cinema of Iran Iranian New Wave …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of the United Arab Emirates — West Asian cinema Cinema of Armenia Cinema of Azerbaijan Cinema of Bahrain Cinema of Cyprus Cinema of Georgia Cinema of Iran Iranian New Wave …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Iraq — West Asian cinema Cinema of Armenia Cinema of Azerbaijan Cinema of Bahrain Cinema of Cyprus Cinema of Georgia Cinema of Iran Iranian New Wave …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Bahrain — The cinema of Bahrain is a small as its lacks the goverment and the private sector support, there is many short films produced by indivuals filmmakers, and about 5 feature films in Bahrain history. There is a lot of cinema theatres in Bahrain… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.