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The Cemetery Club (Moadon beit hakvarot) - 2006 Israeli DVD
Winner of best documentary awards in Shanghai and Leipzeig. Two Holocaust survivors are members of a social club of elderly Polish-born, who meet every Sabbath to discuss philosophy, politics and poetry at the Mount Herzl National Cemetery.
Poignant, intimate, at times hilarious, this prize-winning documentary tells two stories at once. One follows the complex relationship between 80-year-old Lena and her 85-year-old sister-in-law Minia, both Holocaust survivors. The other chronicles a social club, to which the women belong, of elderly, opinionated Polish-born Jerusalemites who meet every Sabbath to eat and discuss matters simple and sublime at the Mount Herzl National Cemetery, burial place of Israel's leaders. Cantankerous, bossy Lena, a lawyer and judge, and mild-mannered Minia, a laborer, have known each other since their girlhoods in Lodz. Survivors of the ghetto, they share a history and numerous family secrets, but hold different values. Bound together by fate, theirs is an intense, often quarrelsome relationship. They are also, respectively, the great-aunt and grandmother of filmmaker Tali Shemesh. More than 20 years ago, Lena was among the founders of “The Academy of Mount Herzl,” a group whose goal is to “dissipate loneliness in the Golden Years, draw people together and offer mutual aid.” The group’s charter states that each member should bring a folding chair to their picnics. It also legislates that meetings will take place even if the number of members diminishes. Sadly, during the five years that Shemesh followed the group, a number did die, and eventually ill health forced those who remained to move the meetings to a protected housing project in Jerusalem.
- Language: Hebrew with English French, Russian subtitles
- Original Release date: 2006
- Media: PAL DVD (EUR)
- Runtime: 90 min