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London - Haredi Filmmaker Bans Men From Screening Of Film At Israeli Film Festival

Published on: June 14, 2015 09:35 PM
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 Gift of Fire, the story of a young religious woman fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, will be seen by women only. Photograph: The London Israeli film and television festival Gift of Fire, the story of a young religious woman fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, will be seen by women only. Photograph: The London Israeli film and television festival

London - The screening of a highly anticipated film about a Jewish girl forced to flee her home in 15th century Spain produced by Israeli ultra-Orthodox director Rechy Elias has been cancelled by the organizers of Seret 2015 Israeli film festival.

“The Gift of Fire,” described as “a sweeping, romantic saga in a powerful historical setting,” was scheduled to be featured on June 19 in London at the Odeon in Swiss Cottage and JW3, the London Jewish community center. But the film was scrapped after cinema goers got into a fight when men were told the screening was intended strictly for a female audience.

David Lass, a male festival attendee made a complaint to both the organizers and the JW3 after being denied entrance to the film. “The festival said they were a private charity in the UK, and were entitled to hold private screenings for women only to see special films during their annual festival,” he told the Jewish Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1dFlop4).

“However, since all the cinema venues involved in the festival program are open to the general public, I believe that this policy of excluding male film-goers from all screenings would be quite unjustified under UK equality laws. I asked them if they would offer a male-only screening giving men the chance and they declined.”

Through a spokesperson, the Odeon said it does not deny entry to any film based on gender, only on age as provided by law. Because of the controversy, the co-founders of the festival said they would not screen the film. “The film contains women dancing and singing, and the haredi community, and indeed many religious Jews do not feel that men should be watching this,” the organizers said. “We respect the position of the cinema and the filmmaker alike, but have decided at this time we need to honor both parties, and the only way to do so is to cancel the screening at Odeon Swiss Cottage.”

JW3’s chief executive said the movie is for women, by women, and that should be respected. “Gift of Fire is a rare film that was made by a female director from the haredi community, and has some haredi women acting in it. The director. . . made it with the explicit intention of it only being shown to female audiences. Without that condition, she would never have made the film as she would have not been able to express herself artistically in the same way, and the some of the female actors would not have agreed to act in it. Whilst that may be very challenging to many of us, we are proud to be able to provide a platform for a female film director from the haredi community to be able to express herself artistically, as well as a safe environment for Jewish women from across the entire spectrum of the community to see this extraordinary film.”

Other Israeli films slated to be screened at the festival include “Gett,” “Zero Motivation,” “Sacred Sperm,” and “The Kindergarten Teacher,” among others.


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Read Comments (13)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 14, 2015 at 11:01 PM Roman Polanski Says:

All my blessings and all my cheers for the Charaidi film producer for sticking to her principles and not letting those dopey perverted men to see the film. I am sure that with all this great publicity the film will attract 20 times more Charaidi women viewers and will be a success.

2

 Jun 14, 2015 at 11:13 PM Normal Says:

Totally acceptable, same as woman singing. Without the ban, they could not practice their art.

3

 Jun 15, 2015 at 12:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Roman Polanski Says:

All my blessings and all my cheers for the Charaidi film producer for sticking to her principles and not letting those dopey perverted men to see the film. I am sure that with all this great publicity the film will attract 20 times more Charaidi women viewers and will be a success.

The real perverts are those who would deny men the right to see the film and decide for themselves if it raises questions for tzinius.

4

 Jun 15, 2015 at 01:15 AM Ruchel Says:

The Charaidi filmakers are entitled to decide that their production is to be viewed by women only. The female actresses who sing and dance in the film only did so with the knowledge that this would only be viewed by women. You do not become a pervert if you deny men the right to see this film. You are only respecting the religious rights of the charaidi director and the female actresses.

5

 Jun 15, 2015 at 03:49 AM Aron1 Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

The real perverts are those who would deny men the right to see the film and decide for themselves if it raises questions for tzinius.

The real ignoramuses are those that make comments in regards to the halachic aspects of tznius when they have absolutely no concept of those halachas.
The onus of keeping female tznius falls upon the female. Men have a separate requirement to not view or hear women that are not in a tznius mode.

6

 Jun 15, 2015 at 03:50 AM bubby Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

The real perverts are those who would deny men the right to see the film and decide for themselves if it raises questions for tzinius.

Idiot. Try understanding RELIGIOUS women instead of putting your own bigotry out there.

7

 Jun 15, 2015 at 07:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

The real perverts are those who would deny men the right to see the film and decide for themselves if it raises questions for tzinius.

Singing women are not to heated by men. That is a part of "Halacha". No one can question this point. If you don't agree to it, you are against the Torah.

8

 Jun 15, 2015 at 08:11 AM lazerx Says:

lest you forget: 'dina damalchusa dina" a public showing must abide by public laws. to ban either sex is not allowed under goyshe law and by golly, you live in gullus.

Solution: have a private showing!

9

 Jun 15, 2015 at 02:37 PM favish Says:

Reply to #8  
lazerx Says:

lest you forget: 'dina damalchusa dina" a public showing must abide by public laws. to ban either sex is not allowed under goyshe law and by golly, you live in gullus.

Solution: have a private showing!

#8 This is such an ignorant statement . 'dina demachise'?! where does that come in? When dina demalchise is in contradiction with the jewish code of law....it certainly doesn't apply!

10

 Jun 15, 2015 at 03:22 PM Shlomit Says:

Reply to #9  
favish Says:

#8 This is such an ignorant statement . 'dina demachise'?! where does that come in? When dina demalchise is in contradiction with the jewish code of law....it certainly doesn't apply!

While it is true that "dina d'malchuta dina" would not apply in the case of someone forced to transgress halacha, that is not the case here. The the only legal issue is with having it at a public venue. No one is forcing them to do that. Both halacha and local law can be kept by hosting a private showing.

11

 Jun 15, 2015 at 04:43 PM Rafuel Says:

Reply to #10  
Shlomit Says:

While it is true that "dina d'malchuta dina" would not apply in the case of someone forced to transgress halacha, that is not the case here. The the only legal issue is with having it at a public venue. No one is forcing them to do that. Both halacha and local law can be kept by hosting a private showing.

And that is what is going to happen: private screening.

But I do believe that men, when explained that this film was made by women for women, still insists on being allowed in (and be seated in the room with hundreds of women and no other men) are just that: perverts. Londoners should remember the name of this "attendee" and not allow their children anywhere near him. He himself should not be allowed within at least 100 meters of any Jewish school.

12

 Jun 15, 2015 at 12:35 PM Rivkah Says:

if there are so many issues with the viewing of the film, why make it in the first place! "Ultra" Orthodox people have nothing better to do than a project that may lead to compromise of tzenua laws?

13

 Jun 16, 2015 at 01:21 AM The_Beadle Says:

Reply to #11  
Rafuel Says:

And that is what is going to happen: private screening.

But I do believe that men, when explained that this film was made by women for women, still insists on being allowed in (and be seated in the room with hundreds of women and no other men) are just that: perverts. Londoners should remember the name of this "attendee" and not allow their children anywhere near him. He himself should not be allowed within at least 100 meters of any Jewish school.

How silly you are.

You have absolutely no right - legal or otherwise to ban him from sending any children he may have to a Jewish school.

Granted, chassidische schools may do things their own way, but I have a funny feeling that he's not going to be trying to send his children to such a school.

14

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