Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Winner of a Locarno jury prize in 2002, FORGET BAGHDAD tells the forgotten story of four Baghdadi-Jews, all former members of the Iraqi communist party who were forced to emigrate at Israel s founding. Iraqi-born, Zür... more »
A story of Arab Jews in Israel . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 02/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This remarkable documentary tells the little-known story of Arab Jews whose families had lived for generations in Baghdad before they were forcibly resettled in Israel in 1948. Four of them, all elderly men at the time they were interviewed for the film (shot in 2000 and released in 2002), were active members of the Communist Party when they were young and still have some of that contrarian and anti-materialist spirit. Their political views, however, are incidental to the main purpose of the film, which is to reveal not only their personal stories but the status of a large minority of Jews in Israel who are ethnically Arab and thus torn in their identities between the Arab and Israeli worlds. The film takes Israeli society and the government to task for the racial bias in its neglect of these immigrants and social attitudes which are reflected in the stereotypes of them found in Israeli film. This subject is discussed by a fifth interviewee, Ella Shohat, an Israeli-born Arab who has emigrated to the U.S, where she was teaching at the time at New York University.
Most striking is the film's complex structure, which breaks the screen surface into multiple "windows" that permit us to simultaneously watch interviews, archival footage, film clips, old photographs, and text in Arabic and Hebrew. An interesting short film on the DVD explains the mathematically precise rationale for assigning areas of the screen for each type of image to appear. The film is rather hauntingly fixed in its moment of history by the view of the WTC towers seen outside the office window of Ms. Shohat. This is a richly detailed and informative film that necessarily deepens our understanding of the Middle East at a time when so much is over-simplified by the news media."
Hussain Abdul-Hussain | Washington,DC USA | 03/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget Baghdad is one of the best documentaries on the history of the immigration of Arab Jews from their native countries to the newborn State of Israel in 1948. The film is focused on four mid-aged Jewish Iraqis who left Baghdad in their youth in 1950.
The four men, Moussa Houri, Samir Naqqash, Shimon Ballas, and Sami Michael, were all members of the Iraqi Communist Party before they left Iraq. As they confessed their love to their homeland, they said that the primary reason why they left was because life in their country of origin could not be tolerated anymore. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Jewish Iraqis lost their job, saw their assets confiscated and were subject to extreme social discrimination measure. Hence, they were left with one option: to leave Iraq. Yet, the only destination they could go to was Israel, and that was what they did.
But coming to a European-built Israel, the Iraqi Jews (the Sephardi or Mezrahi Jews) were treated as savages. They talk of how they were sprayed with DDT upon arrival, how they were first received in tents and how the European Ashkinazi Jews were repelled of them, their behavior and even the smell of their food.
The producer of the film, identified by his first name Samir only, cleverly uses parts of the early Sephardi comedy on discrimination while at the same time he uses Israeli propaganda film targeting Jews and inviting them to start a new life in the new country.
This film is excellent."