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(Nov 29, 2005)
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The poignant true-life tale of a young girl's struggle for survival in the post-Holocaust era. Set in 1950s Israel, this two-part film saga continues in Under the Domim Tree. Both were produced and written by Gila Almagor. In Hebrew, German and Russian with English subtitles
Reveals the scars, both mental and physical, that Holocaust survivors brought with them to Israel, --American Historical Review
touching and heartwarming drama..sensitive and intelligent directing..excellent acting by Gila Almagor. --Yediot Aharonot (Israel News)
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This film is the first of a two-film series based on Gila Almagor's stories about her upbringing in post-Holocaust Israel. Almagor is one Israel's most noted and well regarded actresses, and her books reveal a childhood that surprised many Israelis.
Aviya--the character based on Almagor--is raised by her single mother, and she doesn't know very much about her father. She knows that her mother--remarkably played by Almagor herself--is a Holocaust survivor, but she does not know her mother's full story.
Throughout her summer break, she observes her mother's position in their community. Ridiculed for her impulsive and often offensive behavior, Aviya's mother must cope with her memories on her own. The roles reverse, and Aviya becomes as much of her mother's care-taker as she can.
This film portrays an interesting moment in Israeli history: following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Holocaust survivors were neither accepted nor cared for by Israeli society-at-large. Understandably, many Israelis did not comprehend the psychological damage withstood by survivors, and they shunned those survivors who exhibited any "deviant" behaviors. Often, survivors' children faced neglect and ridicule, and eventually they were turned over to what can be likened to "child protective services."
Aviya's Summer portrays this situation, concluding with Aviya's coming-of-age in Under the Domim Tree.
High school and university students, and maybe middle school students, relate to Aviya's story, as the film deals with issues of rejection, relationships with parents, and social norms.
It shows the sadness of trying rebuild a family life with her daughter, but that never happened. It is sad to see the way people treated the holocaust survivors at that time.