Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Children's House, and Kibbutz

On Monday January 29, 2007 The Washington DC Jewish Community Center presented a program in its Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater “Screening Room” that it called “End of a Myth: Two Documentary Films on the Israeli Kibbutz Experience.” The link is this: http://washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/film/

The first firm was called “The Children’s House,” directed by Tamir Feingold. The 52-minute film documents the communal education of children in the kibbutz. The raising of a modern day Children’s House is shown, but the most interesting footage is black-and-white footage of such a low-rise house in the 1950s, where the kids slept, four beds to a room, and were told even to sleep in certain positions. In the kibbutz, most of the responsibility for raising children was taken from the nuclear family and given to a common function. The film has nothing to do with the notorious drama of a few decades ago, "The Children's Hour."

The second film is called simply “Kibbutz” and is directed by Racheli Schwartz. It shows how a Kibbutz in modern times falls under economic competitive pressures and has to privatize or sell off businesses (providing services to “members”) as younger people move away to the cities (like Tel Aviv).

Both films, each running about 52 minutes, were shot in 4:3 minimal aspect ratio and appear to be in simple digital video. They appear to have been funded in part by Israeli television.

After the films there was a panel discussion, in which panelists expressed the idea that children raised in this communal style often turned out well, and that the House film presented the topic in a one-sided manner.

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