Amos Gitai - Screening of Film “Kadosh”

Film - Documentary | September 13 | 6:30-9 p.m. | 112 Wurster Hall

 College of Environmental Design

Lecture Series: House, City, Border: Poetics and Politics of Israel

Second of a three-part film series presented by the College of Environmental Design. Amos Gitai (Ph.D Architecture '79) will be on hand for the screening and discussion that follows. Francesco Spagnolo, curator of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley will discuss Kadosh with Gitai.


Israel, says film-maker Amos Gitai, "is a country that consumes its own history at incredible speed." There's not always time for reflection there, he says, and that's where he comes into his own as a film-maker. "I like to use the medium to pose questions, to deal with this very irritated place called Israel." (1)

Kadosh, the third film in the trilogy City (which also includes Zichron Devarim/Past Continuous (1995), Yom Yom/Day after Day (1998), is an Israeli film about the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect of Hasidim, where men make the decisions and women are seen, narrowly, as vessels for the production of sons. It is a very angry film, and has caused much discussion in Israel and within American Jewish circles, where most people share its anger.

The film takes place in Mea Shearim, an area of Jerusalem where life is regulated according to ancient and unwavering laws. It tells the stories of two sisters, one married, one single but in love with an unacceptable man by the cultural standards. The film, directed by longtime Israeli documentarian Amos Gitai, sees the story largely through the eyes of the women, who sometimes share rebellious thoughts like naughty schoolgirls: Their men spend their days in the study of the Torah, they observe, but women are not allowed to read it--perhaps because they might not agree that it prescribes such a limited life for women. A full movie review is available from the New York Times.


This lecture series presents a set of curated films that allow the audience to enter Israel from the powerful lens of the renowned filmmaker Amos Gitai. Each of the screenings in this series is a final film in a trilogy: House, City, and Border, introducing the audience to both Gitai’s documentary and fiction filmmaking. As a trained Architect, Gitai has a unique way of understanding and representing human experience through time and space. House, City, and Border are the anatomy of any country, which Gitai has beautifully captured to present a more complete narrative/image of Israel in the context of larger global discourses.

This film series will be of special interest to those in the College of Environmental Design, The Israel and Jewish studies program, Middle Eastern studies, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies. The series ends with Gitai’s 2007 film Disengagement, which more directly engages with the overall theme of our screenings regarding the plan, construction, transformation, and destruction of ideological settlements. Amos’s filmmaking style will set an example for all of us studying people and their environments on how to cross geographical, racial, ideological and political borders to examine and humanize opposing groups to one another. These films together help build a foundation for peace.


Alumnus Amos Gitai is an acclaimed Israeli filmmaker who is widely known for making documentaries and feature films about the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict.

Gitai's work has been presented in several major retrospectives at the Pompidou Center Paris, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Lincoln Center New York and the British Film Institute London. To date Gitai has created over 90 works of art over 38 years. Between 1999 and 2011 seven of his films were entered in the Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d'Or as well as the Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion award.

He has received several prestigious prizes which include the Leopard of Honor at the Locarno International Film Festival (2008), the Roberto Rossellini prize (2005), the Robert Bresson prize (2013) and the Paradjanov prize (2014). His recent feature film, Rabin, The Last Day, was presented at the 72th Venice Film Festival.

About Francesco Spagnolo

Francesco Spagnolo, a multidisciplinary scholar focusing on Jewish studies, music and digital media, is the Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life and an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a host for the cultural programs of Italian National Radio (RAI) in Rome. At UC Berkeley, he is an affiliated faculty member in the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, and serves on the Digital Humanities Council.

Intersecting textual, visual and musical cultures, Francesco actively contributes to academia, cultural heritage institutions, as well as live and electronic media, in Europe, Israel and the United States. A former lecturer at the University of Milan and at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he is frequently invited to lecture at academic institutions worldwide, publishes on topics ranging from music to philosophy, film and literature, and curates exhibitions and digital programs.

This event is co-sponsored by the College of Environmental Design and the Global Urban Humanities Initiative

This lecture is open to the public.

(1) Romney, Jonathan, "The Forbbiden Zone" , The Guardian online, 21, July 2000