Arabic Movie by Eyal Sagui Bizawe and Sara Tsifroni (Israel, 2015, 62min.). Hebrew & Arabic with English subtitles.

A fascinating look at one of the rituals of Israeli popular culture: the weekly Friday afternoon TV broadcast of the “Arabic movie.” Back in the days when Israel had only one TV station, families of all backgrounds—Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, and Palestinians alike—would gather around the TV to watch Egyptian melodramas, comedies, and musicals. Full of marvelous film clips (roll the matinee idols and infectious pop music), this documentary explores the restorative role these movies played for many Jewish émigrés from Arab lands, and investigates how Israel’s official TV station bypassed sealed borders to obtain these beloved movies, even while Israel was at war with her Arab neighbors. Winner Art & Culture Award at the DocAviv Film Festival.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with Professor Ari Ofengenden, Director of the Hebrew Language and Literature Program at Brandeis University.