For My Children

A film by Michal Aviad

Israel | 2002 | 65 minutes | Color | DVD | Hebrew/English | Subtitled | Order No. 03791

SYNOPSIS

In October 2000, as the second Palestinian Intifada erupts, Israeli filmmaker Michal Aviad begins an exploration about both the moral and mundane dilemmas she faces every day in Tel Aviv. What begins with deceptive simplicity-a tender scene of sending the children off to school-quickly becomes a profound study of vulnerability and anxiety. Small acts like crossing the street are charged with inescapable fear. As the nightmare of violence escalates over the coming months, Michal and her husband Shimshon ask the quintessential Diaspora Jewish question, "When is it time to go?" The question reverberates through a stream of images-public and private, home video and historic archival footage-as her parents and extended family recount their own journeys to Israel from Europe, escaping death and the Holocaust, and from America, out of ideological commitment to Israel. Their stories are told with vivid, beautiful detail-at a bucolic family picnic, during a vacation on the California coast-and with a degree of candor and intimacy rarely seen in Israeli cinema. "I don't want to be an immigrant," says Shimshon, a political activist whose profound feelings about displacement and exile are interwoven with TV images of war, children asleep in their beds, grandma making pasta and the sounds of sirens. Tanks roll over the hills as tea is being made in the kitchen in a cosmic seesaw between blissful domesticity and the nightmare of public life, in this deeply moving and riveting video essay.

-Deborah Kaufman

PRESS

"...[a] beautifully crafted documentary that weaves together personal, historical, and political strands to create a moving picture of one Israeli family's life before and since the onset of the second Intifadah. Their struggle and family history quietly but powerfully illuminate broader issues of identity, values, and the Jewish immigrant experience."

Kaj Wilson Artistic Director, the Boston Jewish Film Festival

“… her most nuanced and complex film to date. By turning the camera on her own family…Aviad produces a sensitive and introspective film that sheds light onto life for leftist Israelis.”

Dorit Naaman Queens University

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • San Francisco International Film Festival
  • Boston Jewish Film Festival
  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
  • Munich International Documentary Film Festival
  • Istanbul International Documentary Film Festival
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
  • Leipzig Documentary Film Festival
  • INPUT 2003
  • Washington Jewish Film Festival
  • Buenos Aires Human Rights Film Festival
  • Haifa International Film Festival
  • Palestinian-Israeli Film Festival
  • Museum of Modern Art, NY
  • Visions du Reel Nyon International Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Michal Aviad

Michal Aviad was born in Jerusalem and studied literature, philosophy and cinema after graduating high school. During the 1980s she lived in San Francisco, where she started making films, and since returning to Israel in 1991, she has continued to write, direct and produce award-winning documentaries. Her films include: ACTING OUR AGE (1987, USA), THE WOMEN NEXT DOOR (1992, Israel), EVER SHOT ANYONE? (1995, Israel), JENNY & JENNY (1997, Israel), RAMLEH (2001, Israel), and FOR MY CHILDREN (2002, Israel). Aviad’s films examine the complex relationships between women’s issues and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, militarism, and ethnicity. In November 2019, Aviad was rewarded one of Israel’s most prestigious awards, the Landau Award for Arts and Sciences, endowed by Mifal HaPais Council for the Culture and Arts, which cited her as "one of the most important directors in the history of Israeli cinema." In addition to continuing to make films, Aviad is also a faculty member at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television where she works as a senior lecturer at the Department of Cinema and Television. (01/20)

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