A Hasidic rabbinical student falls in love with his teacher’s daughter. A punk band gives a small but raucous concert in a Tel Aviv basement. A religious couple travels to a rabbinical court to file for divorce, only to find their relationship tested in the strangest of ways.
In the past few years, Israel has produced a veritable outpouring of feature-length movies, short films, and animated work. The new website Omanoot.com collects some of the best of these films and allows you to watch them online.
Some films (including “Willingly,” the film about the divorcing couple) are products of Ma’ale, an Israeli film school for religious Jews. Other films were made by major Israeli studios, and still others are independently produced. There are films representing young and old, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab. Of course, there’s no way to show the diversity and breadth of all of Israel, but visiting Omanoot is one effective way of exploring the country in all its weirdness and wildness from far away. Its films are funny, moving, and sometimes difficult–much like life in Israel itself.
February 14, 2011