Film Director Gad Abittan first premiered his documentary, The Stars of Stern, at the 58th Krakow Film Festival (Poland), in May 2018, A very personal story about his neighbors on Stern Street #45 in the Jerusalem Neighborhood of Kiryat Hayovel, The Stars of Stern, received awards and recognition in various international screenings including France. In June 2019, it was premiered in Israel at the Cinema South Festival in Sderot followed by a Jerusalem Premier at the Cinemateque.
Now, on Thursday July 11, The Stars of Stern comes full circle back to its own “hood” where it will be screened at the Mifletzet Pub in Kiryat Hayovel (https://www.facebook.com/miflezet).
“For ten years I photographed one building in Jerusalem on Stern Street where I live. It was my first home in Israel since I immigrated from Morocco at the age of 16. It was a home provided for me after I was seriously injured in a military operation in Gaza because i was a soldier alone, without a family, since my parents were still in Morocco,” said Abittan. “The film reflects the special relationship I developed for this building and my neighbors who were living in constant tension between secularism and the growing ultra-Orthodox population. The film continuously raises questions of identity, belonging, reciprocity and especially raises the question of the power of religion in Jerusalem.”
This screening that will take place in Kiryat Hayovel for the very neighbors that are the focus of the film, is perhaps, for Abittan, one of the most meaningful of all the screenings. “I believe it (the screening) can provide a great opportunity and platform for all members of the community to discuss the issues brought out in the film, the tensions between the secular and “haredi” (Orthodox) populations”
The Mifletzet Pub (Hebrew for “Monster” and named for the nearby sculpture and playground) itself is an appropriate setting for the screening. Formed as a cooperative in 2014, the Mifletzet Pub was created by people living in Kiryat Hayovel, to provide the neighborhood with a casual place to meet, socialize and host events and entertainment. Since the Mifletzet Pub is open on Friday nights (Shabbat), the Coop itself has found itself embroiled in the same tension as reflected in the film, the conflict between the secular and the Orthodox communities.
A review of The Stars of Stern by Vladan Petkovic in the prestigious Cineuropa noted the universality of Abittan’s documentary: “The film also feels very intimate and private. But the issue he tackles has a much greater significance, and not only for Israel – it is part of a global trend that is impossible to ignore.”
For more information and background on Gad Abittan and The Stars of Stern:
The Stars of Stern trailer: https://vimeo.com/333976121
Gad Abittan IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10073535/
Cineuropa Review: https://cineuropa.org/en/newsdetail/355195/)
by Karen Hoffman, Jewish News Feature Editor (Contributor)