From The Press
Entertainment Board, Monday, November 24
A WEAVE OF FAMILY AND HISTORY
Filmmaker/historian Yael Katzir and her son film the shiva mourning period for her
mother in real time.
Eight-and-a-half-years later, Katzir felt emotionally able to do edit the intensely
personal documentary, Shiva for my Mother.
Her mother, Ziona, a sabra scion of the famous Shertok (Sharett) family, was as
fiercely engaged to the national cause as her Russian Zionist pioneer family, while
Katzir's father was a refined, typically yekke doctor from Germany. As she sits
with her siblings, judging their mother as they discuss their upbringing, Katzir
finds her own mothering challenged by her camera wielding son. The third generation
Katzir has since gone to acclaim for his films both here and in the US
(Today You are a Fountain Pen).
WOMAN - ISRAEL WEEKLY MAGAZINE
"Shivah for my Mother" Seven Days of Mourning,
A Film by: Yael Katzir
Private and collective requiem for a period
By Bruria Avidan-Barir
"Shiva for my Mother", a film by Dr. Yael Katzir is a personal film about
her mother and is also about all of our mothers. It is a private and collective
requiem for a period.
Yael's father died years ago, and when her mother died she asked permission of her
brother and sister to film the "Shivah". Her son, Dan, filmed 80 hours,
and Yael needed several years before she could edit it.
Her father escaped from Berlin in 1933 and in then, Palestine-Israel, he fell in
love with the Native –Sabra Ziona, whom he nicknamed "My
As the "Shiva" goes on, skeletons come out of the closet. The children
are angry because none of Yael's father's friends came to console.
Yael goes to visit an old friend of her father's who tells her "Your father
loved your mother because she was wild, but I will not tell you your father's secrets"
As the camera follows the mourners, Dan announces that he plans to stay at his grandmother's
apartment for a year and sleep in her bed. His sister is shocked to hear that.
Yael says that "grandmother did not love us enough" and asks her son "do
you think I loved you enough?" Dan replies "You taught me to be a soldier,
and if you think that you are different I can tell you
that you are as tough as your mother…. His sister holds the same opinion. This is
painful for Yael.
Yael confesses that she gave her mother a hug just before her mother died, a hug
she herself had always longed for.
Watching the film, tears filled my eyes when Yael finds
a letter her mother never sent to her saying "My little daughter, How much
do I want to hug you and sit you on my lap, give you the warmth of my heart, but
you are tough…."
Shiva for My Mother Won Judges Award at Krakow Festival
Yael Katzir's Film Shiva for my Mother won the Judges Award at The Krakow Short
Film Festival .1300 movies were submitted to the festival on its 44th year, out
of which 150 where selected to be screened.
The movie will also participate in the biggest international film festival in Asia
which take place in Shanghai, China this month, and later at the Jewish Festival
in Berlin. The film documents the 'Shiva' (which are the
first seven days of mourning after someone's death) in real time and follows the
director who is sitting 'Shiva' on her mother. The mourning goes through sharp changes
as the seven days of mourning pass. At first one finds consol in the nostalgic stories
that are well known and than criticism arises and anger gets released.