Sometimes, it’s best to just let the people tell the history. That’s the idea behind the fascinating new documentary Israel: A Home Movie. It throws together home movie footage shot by Israelis from the 1930s up through the mid-’70s, layers in narration (everything from nostalgic to carping) and lets the flood of imagery tell the story of a young nation.
Israel: A Home Movie is playing now in limited release, should pop up in a few theaters around the country eventually. My full review is at Film Journal International:
The footage begins in black-and-white, in a land that looks positively medieval despite the 20th century already being a third over with. Over these images of strangers in the streets or family members eagerly waving in kitchens or yards, the filmmakers layer audio clips from the people who shot the footage, and their relatives. As a result, the film can move with the ebbing tides of family disagreements over what they’re actually looking at. The doc proceeds as the viewing of any home movie does, with relatives jumping in to point out a person or some fact (one man joking that his father was “the worst cameraman in the world,” a woman pointing out a young boy who was later “murdered by the Arabs”), haggling over what means what…
You can see a short clip here: