Centrul Astra Film
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Astra Film Festival


Iris Zaki,  UK 2011 22'

Producer: Iris Zaki

Film Presentation:
Povestea unui hotel pentru evrei ortodocsi din Londra prin ochii lui Iris, receptionista. Straina fiind de acest mediu, Iris, o tanara atee din Tel-Aviv, este surprinsa de intimitatea si franchetea dintre ea si oaspetii hotelului, evrei religiosi din diferite secte si cu diferite experiente de viata. Fiind studenta la sectia de regie documentare, ea hotaraste sa stranga materiale cu dialogurile interesante dintre evreii religiosi si cei atei, creand un documentar personal si neconventional, care deschide o fereastra catre fascinanta cultura evreiasca.
Director's Bio-Filmography:
During my studies for an MA in documentary film-making, I've found myself a rather awkward part time job, as the receptionist of a Hassidic hotel. Being an open minded atheist with a carefree lifestyle, I had never imagined myself working there. Even though I come from Israel, I've never had any connection with Hassidic Jews back home. I had a pretty consolidated, and not very supportive opinion about them, with their funny customs and old fashioned lifestyle. At the beginning it was just a student part time job to cover the rent, but as time passed by, I realised that there is a unique anthropological phenomenon happening right under my nose: Diverse Jewish religious groups, with different customs, traditions and beliefs. In London, far from Israel, with all its political and social tension, I could actually communicate with this closed community. From the other side of the desk, responsible for their sleeping arrangements, food and facilities, I have started to get closer to orthodox Jews, and ask them all the questions I've been dying to ask: about god, religion, life, death, passion and sex. I found out that the enthusiasm is many times mutual. Some of them have never had such an open conversation with a secular Jewish independent woman, that feels free to share her different opinions. Many times they couldn't understand my priorities in life, such as the choice to be single, or to study. At some point I decided to document our open conversations. I was quite surprise from their willingness to participate in this project. The majority of them don't have a television at home and don't go to the movies, so a camera in a way is something that represents the 'outside world' with all its dangers. I believe most of them have agreed because I am Jewish, and they believe, I assume, that they can somehow educate me and show me how rich and rewarding their lifestyle is, or what it is that I am missing - maybe even . The format of the filmmaking has managed to keep the intimacy and authenticity of the conversation. To keep it small and simple. I wish to use this unique personal journey of mine to spread some light on the mysterious Jewish world.