The Russian Project


In the wake of the Russian immigration to Israel, there has been new found interest in the Jewish cultural heritage. Wanting to enrich the Cinematheque's collection with historically and artistically important films together with the institution's commitment to preserve testimonies pertaining to Jewish history, has brought members of the cinematheque's staff to wander through Russian archives' basements, hunting hidden treasures.

In the many years since the hunt begun, many films depicting the lives of Jewish communities in Russia and Ukraine from the beginning of the 20th century have been recovered. However, there are still many archives to be looked through. In the summer of 2008, in the Russian National Archive, a silent newsreel from 1913 was discovered. The Newsreel was filmed and edited by the Pathe Brothers in Russia, and tells the story of the Beilis blood libel trial. In this rare newsreel you can see the Beilis Family, Menahem Mendel Beilis brought to court, the whereabouts of the discovery of the body, and footage of the false testimonies. This unique material was deposited, along with other important Jewish footage, in the Israel Film Archive.   

The Russian project continues, and these days it includes cooperation with some of the largest Russian film studios, such as 'MosFilm' and 'LenFilm'. This connection has enriched the Cinematheque's collection with many classical Russian films that for the first time ever have been translated into Hebrew. Including Sergei Eiseinstain and Andrei Trakovski. This process also assisted in creating special programs dedicated to Russian cinema.