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Directed by Monique Schwarz

Australia-Israel-Germany-Netherlands | 73 minutes | 2001

Jewish mothers are the most easily maligned image of Jewish women found in movies and television today. You know who they are: the caricature of the overbearing, emasculating, long suffering mother ever-ready with mountains of food. Australian director Monique Schwarz takes a funny, penetrating look at how the loving and affectionate portrayals in early Yiddish and Hollywood silent movies developed into the Jewish Mother of modern Hollywood and, conversely, the more flesh and blood characterizations in contemporary Israeli cinema. With characteristic Jewish humor, iconic filmmakers Paul Mazursky, Paul Bogart and Larry Peerce and actress Lainie Kazan reflect with disarming candor on their own Jewish mothers and how they influenced their on-screen portrayals. Critics J. Hoberman, Patricia Erens, Michael Medved and Sharon Rivo discuss the changing image of the Jewish mother on screen and Israeli directors Avram Hefner and Zepel Yeshurun and actress Gila Almagor illustrate the uniqueness of Israeli filmic images. Interspersed throughout is the story of Schwarz’s own mother, Berta, from her life in Vienna before World War II to her struggles as an immigrant in post-war Australia, a picture of a woman vastly different from the Jewish mothers seen in contemporary films.
Director Monique Schwarz
Countries of Production Australia-Israel-Germany-Netherlands
Year of Presentation 2001
Premiere Status
Runtime 73 minutes
Principal Cast Paul Mazursky, Paul Bogart, Michael Medved, Lainie Kazan, J. Hoberman
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