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How to Say Silence

  • Israel
  • Documentary
  • 2021
  • 59 min.
  • Director(s): Shir Newman
  • Producer(s): Dana Shalev, Uzi Karin, Tzipi Baider

Synopsis

A photo found by the filmmaker at her grandmother’s house after her death seemed strange. She has a pregnant belly. But she had told the story of adopting the director’s father because she was not able to conceive. Her old friends explained the kibbutz decided state-building efforts preclude giving birth, and she had an abortion that damaged her womb. This set the director’s curiosity about her biological grandmother. The adoption file told of Shoshana, 16, an Iraqi immigrant who got pregnant out of wedlock. Her sister revealed that the family abused her but she refused to give up the baby, who was eventually taken from her. Both suffered patriarchal oppression and remained silent. The grandmothers’ stories led the filmmaker to confront her parents about her own silence on sexual abuse in the family. For the sake of the three, she must break silence.

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Credits

Director(s)

Shir Newman

Producer(s)

Dana Shalev, Uzi Karin, Tzipi Baider

Cinematography

May Abadi-Grebler

Editor

Sharon Yaish

Original Music

Arnon Naor (Sun Tailor)

Original Language

Hebrew

Subtitles

English

Festival Highlights

  • WINNER

    Best Debut Film
    Docaviv International Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Best Documentary Film
    Israeli Film Critics Association
    2021
  • Special Mention

    Best Feature Documentary
    SIMA - Social Impact Media Awards
    2022
  • WINNER

    Audience Award
    Flahertiana International Documentary Film Festival
    2022
  • Special Mention

    Documentary Film
    Flahertiana International Documentary Film Festival
    2022
  • Special Mention

    Documentary Film
    Bastau International Film Festival
    2022

Bastau International Film Festival , Russia , Competition , 2022

University of Philadelphia , USA , 2022

Flahertiana International Documentary Film Festival , Russia , Competition , 2022

Festival Mix México , Mexico , 2022

University of Michigan , USA , 2022

This Human World , Austria , Competition , 2021

Boston Women's Film Festival , USA , 2021

Docaviv International Film Festival , Israel , Israeli Competition , 2021

Reviews

  • ...[the director] manages to tell the story with incredible sensitivity in a surprisingly quiet way, balancing obvious fractures with intimacy and closeness. Her style unfolds an irresistible pull that generates deep empathy and testifies to great strength.
    Jury's justification, Docaviv International Film Festival 2021
  • The film combines the story of three women - including the director herself - into one staggering, complex work. Dealing bravely with oppression and trauma, and develops into a powerful statement about the need to silence and hide subjects which are considered taboo, and the destructive pain it leads to.
    Jury's justification, Israeli Film Critics Association 2021

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