A Film by: Tali Shemesh
(Israel, 2006, 90 Minutes, Color, Hebrew, English subtitles)
Nominated for Best Documentary 2006 of the European Film Academy, Winner of Dok Leipzig for Best Documentary, Winner of Shanghai IFF for Best Asian Documentary, Winner of One World Human Rights Documentary FF for Best Director, Winner of DocAviv 2006.
10 o’clock, Saturday morning. A group of elderly women and men carry plastic lawn chairs across the Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem. In the shade of an old pine tree, they sit down, in a circle and discuss matters sublime and elevated.
For over two decades, the "Mt. Herzl Academy” has held its weekly meeting at this cemetery. Seated between the graves of the nation's dignitaries, they debate the history of modern philosophy, read poetry, eat lunch and determine the fate of the Jewish nation.
Director Tali Shemesh has been following the "Academy" for the last 5 years, focusing on two members: Minia, the director's grandmother, and Lena, her great aunt.
The film unravels the jagged, intense, almost impossible relationship between these two extremely different women, who – each bereaved of the man she loved – remain bound together by history and fate.
As death decimates the group that has given meaning to their lives, the film explores the conflicts between Lena and Minia, and the family secrets that haunt them. The result is a poignant, intimate, sometimes hilarious portrait of the Holocaust generation like you’ve never seen it before.
"The Cemetery Club is the most successful Israeli Documentary ever"! - Ha'aretz Newspaper, Israel, April 2007
"Celebration of life. Sensitive, clever, funny, and above all – compassionate. Excellent".
- Kol Israel Radio, Israel
"This movie says goodbye to the generation of Holocaust survivors in an affectionate way". - Berliner Morgenpost, March 2007
"The Cemetery Club is one of the most powerful and multi-layered documentaries I have seen in recent months. It has elements of tragedy and comedy, of rich fiction and poignant political satire. I enjoyed the fine artistic logic that Tali Shemesh employs to highlight the relationship between the two women on the background of their advancing age, their loneliness, and their mutual thirst for human contact. It is a magnificent film."
- Amos Oz, Israeli writer
"A brilliant documentary requiem. A film full of human compassion and hypnotizing melancholy, that succeeds touching this thing called art". - Yediot Ahronot Newspaper, Israel
"A fantastic relationship. Fellini-style scenes. Recommended!" - London & Kirshenbaum, Channel 10, Israel
AWARDS, FESTIVALS & SCREENINGS
• San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2007
• European Film Academy Nomination for Best Documentary 2006
• Dok Leipzig International Film Festival, Leipzig - Golden Dove Award for Best Documentary
• Shanghai Film Festival - The Magnolia Award for Best Asian Documentary
• One World – Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Prague - Best Director Award
• International Women's Film Festival, Israel - Best Film Award
• Docaviv International Film Festival, Tel-Aviv - Promising Filmmaker Award & Best Photography Award
• HotDocs International Film Festival, Toronto - Official Competition
• Cannes International Film Festival
• International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) - Reflecting Images: Best of Fests
• Miami International FIlm Festival - Official Competition
• Washington Jewish Film Festival
• Sao Paulo Jewish Film Festival
• San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
• Boston Jewish Film Festival
• Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival
• JCC on the Palisades, USA
• Rome Israeli Film Festival
• NY Israeli Film Festival
• Tucson Jewish Film Festival
• Hartford Jewish Film Festival, USA
• Allentown Film Series, USA
• Staten Island Jewish Film Festival
• Portland Jewish Film Festival
• Brussles Jewish Film Festival
• Embassy of Israel in Tashkent 2014
• Embassy of Israel in Belarus 2014
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