Folklore & Folklife
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Center for Folklore and Ethnography
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Undergraduate Minor
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FOLK 154 401 Film/Literature: War & Love in Israel

Nili Gold
Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday: 1:30-3:00
Contact: Asian and Middle Eastern Studies: 215.898.7466

Cross-listed with: AMES 154, COML 282, JWST 154

Topic varies semester to semester. Past topics have included: Film and Literature: Childhood in Times of Peace and War; War and Love: Heroism and Anti-Heroism in Israeli Writings. Fall 2002: Film & Literature: War & Love in Israel. While the American tradition sanctifies the "pursuit of happiness, "Israeli consciousness does not. The "tug of war" between the individual's right to seek happiness on the one hand, and the commitment to collective, national causes on the other, is an overarching theme in the 54 year-old existence of Israeli literature and culture. This struggle between passion and obligation evolves in different forms through cinematic and literary works, crosses lines of gender and genre, age and ethnic background. The constant shadow of war made "terrible flowers of love blossom" (Amichai), but led to a culture and art of perpetual repression of desire. So deeply ingrained is the superiority of national concerns that a leading Israeli critic accused the renouwned author A.B. Yehoshua of "desertion" when he wrote a mere love story. This course will introduce students to works of fiction, poetry, and film created by Israeli men and women from 1948 onward. We will study how authors and directors use color, light, close-ups and flashbacks. For some, the collective "I" is in the center, while for others it is a metaphor for society. Some explore the landscapes of the self, yet others turn to the supernatural or escape altogether from the here and now. Readings include A.B. Yehoshua, A. Oz, D. Grossman, O. Kastel-Bloom. Films includes works by M. Bat Adam, U. Barbash, D. Karpel, and Mizrahi.

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