House on Chelouche Street 1973
Ha-Bayit Berechov Chelouche (original title)
1h 50min | Drama | 1973 (Israel)
The film tells the story of a Sephardi family of Egyptian Jewish immigrants from Alexandria that settle in 1947 Tel Aviv. The family consists of a 33-year-old widowed wife, Clara, (played by Gila Almagor, one of the most prominent actresses in Israel for the last three decades) and her four children. They live in a working-class neighborhood surrounded by their extended family, including Clara’s mother Mazal, Clara’s uncle Rafael, and Sultana, his wife. The plot centers on the firstborn, Sami, his transition from a shy 15-year-old to a working man and an activist in the “Irgun” (a resistance movement that acted mainly against the military forces of the British), and the romantic attachment he develops with a 25-year-old Russian immigrant librarian (Michal Bat-Adam, now a director). In addition to this, Clara struggles between social pressure to take a husband and her own complex feelings surrounding this, complicated by another Sephardi Egyptian, played by Yosef Shiloach, who has strong feelings for her. The movie is a vivid and very credible description of the lives of Sephardi immigrant families on the eve of the declaration of the state of Israel, as well as the escalating violence between British forces and the local populace, as well as Palestinian Arab violence towards Jews.
This Oscar-nominated Israeli film tackles the awakening of a teenager as he becomes acquainted with the turbulent socio-political era in Israel. Mizrahi regular Michal Bat-Adam convincingly plays the destitute mother who struggles to make her family earn a living by washing clothes, though problem arises when his eldest son falls in love with a librarian while being influenced with the unstable condition in the land. At times, the proceedings look like a daily TV soap opera, as obvious with the camerawork and the over-the-top performances. But the ending justifies the theme that it wants to explore. A deserved viewing, if you can find one in your video shop.
Director: Moshé Mizrahi
Writers: Rachel Fabien, Yerech Guber
Stars: Gila Almagor, Shaike Ophir, Joseph Shiloach