Australian Jews and Film

June 10, 2010

My article on “Australian Jews in Film” has just been published by the Italy-based online film journal “JG Cinema”.

Here is the abstract for the article:

The Australian Jewish community has not made nearly the same impact on film and media as have Jews in the USA for a host of cultural, institutional, social, historical and demographic factors.  Prior to 1996, there were only fourteen Australian feature films that included Jewish characters or themes, six of them made prior to 1935, and all of those six produced by non-Jews.  Despite an historical lack of involvement in film-making, the Australian Jewish community is acutely film-conscious, with one of the world’s most successful Jewish film festivals.  Increasingly, Australian Jewish film-makers have been telling their stories through documentaries, although some dramatic features and animations are appearing.  Controversies in the Australian Jewish community are not unusual, although the community usually is uncomfortable about “airing its dirty linen” in front of non-Jews.  It is particularly significant that the Australian Jewish communal leadership did not respond as intensely to the 2004 release of Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ in the way that happened in the USA.  But the 2008 local film Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger did cause a mini-controversy regarding how Australian film critics review Australian films.

The complete article is available to read here.