Long isolated from secular society, Haredim Jews are turning to cinema in increasing numbers – even those who have never seen a film
“We justify making movies because we understand that this is the way of expressing ourselves in this generation,” says Eitan Alpert, chief executive and a former student of Torat HaChaim, an ultra-Orthodox film school in Israel. “If 200 years ago it was telling stories, today it’s making films.”
Recognisable by their distinctive appearance – men in black suits and hats with beards and payot (long side curls) and women that are conservatively dressed and bewigged – ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Haredim, are not naturally perceived as film-makers. On the contrary, Haredim – a Hebrew word meaning “those who tremble at the word of God” that encompasses a multiplicity of ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects – tend to isolate themselves from secular society, which they see as a threat to their traditional way of life. They generally appear to shun film and television, so it is a surprise to discover that many have been making films with considerable zeal, viewed by both religious and secular audiences, for some time.
Link : ‘Another way of looking’: the rise of ultra-Orthodox cinema