Diversity Through the Camera Lense

Both the German and the Israeli societies grow in a wide variety of narratives, stories, identities and backgrounds. Be it a cultural one, religious, ethnic, social or gender related. These topics are tackled in various forms through literature, music, politics and more. In both countries these themes have made their way onto the big screen as well. Each year, many professional and amateur movies which deal with the multifaceted character of the German and Israeli society are released. More and more people, groups and societies are able to present their realities and narratives, challenges and inspirational stories through fictional and non-fictional movies. Many of these films are a result of exceptional German-Israeli productions as well.

For your enjoyment, we have comprised a list of diversity-themed German and Israeli movies from the last two decades, which engage in a wide plethora of different subjects; The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, racism, religion, immigration, social issues, intergenerational dialogue, LGBTQ+ rights and more.

9 Star Hotel (2007)
(9 Sterne Hotel | מלון 9 כוכבים)
Director: Ido Haar
78 min. | Documentary

Slipping through the predawn darkness over highways, through traffic and across the border, Palestinian construction workers go to work clandestinely in Israel every day. Haar’s raw, handheld photography follows workers who build their own border shanty community to enter Israel more easily, with no choice but to risk their lives simply to earn a living.

Adam Resurrected (2008)
(Ein Leben für ein Leben | אדם בן כלב)
Director: Paul Schrader
106 min. | Drama, War

In the aftermath of World War II, a former circus entertainer who was spared from the gas chamber becomes the ringleader at an asylum for Holocaust survivors.


Ajami (2009)
(Ajami – Stadt der Götter | עג’מי)
Director: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
124 min. | Crime, Drama

The film contains five story lines, each of which is presented in a non-chronological fashion. Some events are shown multiple times from varying perspectives. A young Israeli Arab boy, Nasri, who lives in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, narrates the film.


Anywhere Else (2014)
(Anderswo | כל מקום אחר)
Director: Ester Amrami
87 min. | Drama

Noa spontaneously visits her native Israel after being struck off funding for her research work. However, Noa does not feel welcome there either.


The Band’s Visit (2007)
(Die Band von Nebenan | ביקור התזמורת)
Director: Eran Kolirin
90 min. | Comedy, Drama, Music

A band comprised of members of the Egyptian police force head to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab arts center, only to find themselves lost in the wrong town.


Bena (2009)
(Bena | בנא)
Director: Niv Klainer
86 min. | Drama

Amos lives alone with his schizophrenic teenage son, whom he refuses to intern in the psychiatry ward – he knows only too well how they treat their patients there. One day, Amos brings home a Thai young woman, an illegal alien called Bena. Amos hopes to find some “normality” through this female presence, but things do not work out as he expected.

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Blush (2015)
(Barash | ברש)
Director: Michal Vinik
85 min. | Comedy, Drama, Romance

17-year-old Naama Barash enjoys alcohol, drugs and hanging out with like-minded friends. Her activities are an escape from a home where her parents always fight, and a rebellious, army-enrolled sister, who, one day, disappears. As a new girl shows up at school, Barash falls deep in love for the first time, and the intensity of the experience at once confuses her and gives her life new meaning.

Broken Wings (2002)
(Knafajim Schwurot | כנפיים שבורות)
Director: Nir Bergman
87 min. | Drama

The unexpected death of the family patriarch throws every member of the Ullmann clan off course. Widow Dafna takes to bed for three months and when she finally returns to her job at the maternity hospital, she has little time for her children. Eldest son, Yair drops out of school and adopts a fatalist attitude, shutting out his siblings and girlfriend. His twin sister Maya, a talented musician, feels the most guilt and is forced to act as a family caregiver at the expense of career opportunities. Bullied at school, younger son Ido responds by obsessively filming himself with a video camera and attempting dangerous feats. The baby sister, Bar, is woefully neglected. Preoccupied with their own misery, the family is barely a family anymore. When another tragedy strikes, will they be able to support one another?

The Cakemaker (2017)
(Der Kuchenmacher | האופה מברלין)
Director: Ofir Raul Graizer
104 min. | Drama

Thomas, a young and talented German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who dies in a car crash. Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking answers. Keeping his secret for himself, he starts working for Anat, his lover’s widow, who owns a small café. Although not fully kosher and despised by the religious, his delicious cakes turn the place into a city attraction. Finding himself involved in Anat’s life in a way far beyond his anticipation, Thomas will stretch his lie to a point of no return.

Dancing Arabs/A Borrowed Identity (2014)
(Mein Herz tanzt | العرب الراقصون | ערבים רוקדים)
Director: Eran Riklis
104 min. | Drama

A Palestinian-Israeli boy named Eyad is sent to a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem, where he struggles with issues of language, culture, and identity.


Dear Mr. Waldman (2006)
(Michtavim LeAmerica | מכתבים לאמריקה)
Director: Hanan Peled
90 min. | Drama

In the early sixties, Hilik, a ten-year-old boy who lives in Tel Aviv, knows he and his brother got a goal in life – to make his parents happy and compensate for the grief and loss they had suffered in the Holocaust. Moishe, Hilik’s father, chooses to believe that his lost son, from his first marriage, didn’t die in Auschwitz as he thought, and somehow escaped to America to become President Kennedy’s assistant. As he has never really accepted the fact that he is the only survivor from his family, Moishe is sinking back to his past. Torn between his fear that his father would abandon him, and the wish to make him happy, Hilik chooses to test his father’s love to him, while accepting the risk of loosing him.

Doubtful (2017)
(Mutalim Besafek | מוטלים בספק)
Director: Eliran Elya
88 min. | Drama

Assi, a screenwriter and poet, is stuck in his personal life. He is full of doubt, disturbing thoughts, and existential restlessness. He is sentenced to community service due to a drunken-driving motorcycle accident in which he was involved. For his community service, he is sent to work with juvenile delinquents in Beersheba – the desert city in southern Israel – who are under house arrest and must attend sessions with Assi in the neighborhood shelter as a condition for their parole. Their extreme personalities, their riotous energy, and their charm awaken in him curiosity and attraction; together, they break through the boundaries of the rehabilitative framework.

Eyes Wide Open (2009)
(Du sollst nicht lieben | עיניים פקוחות)
Director: Chaim Tabakman
91 min. | Drama

A married, orthodox, Jerusalem butcher and Jewish father of four falls in love with his handsome, 22-year-old male apprentice, triggering the suspicions of his wife and the disapproval of his Orthodox community.


Farewell Herr Schwarz (2014)
(Schnee von gestern | היה שלום, פיטר שוורץ)
Director: Yael Reuveny
96 min. | Documentary

A documentary about the outcome of a decision made by a brother and sister in 1945. One missed meeting, two families, and three generations.


The Farewell Party (2014)
(Am Ende ein Fest | מיתה טובה)
Director: Ze’ev Revach
95 min. | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Residents of a retirement home build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend, though they are faced with a series of dilemmas when rumors of the machine begin to spread.


Fill the Void (2012)
(An ihrer Stelle | למלא את החלל)
Director: Rama Burshtein
90 min. | Drama, Romance

When the older sister of Shira, an 18-year-old Hasidic Israeli, dies suddenly in childbirth, Shira must decide if she can and should marry her widowed brother-in-law, which also generates tensions within her extended family.


The Flat (2011)
(Die Wohnung | הדירה)
Director: Arnon Goldfinger
97 min. | Documentary

As a documentarian cleans out the flat that belonged to his grandparents – both immigrants from Nazi Germany – he uncovers clues pointing to a complicated and shocking story.


Gay Shorts Israel (short film collection) (2013)
Director: Eddie Tapero, Nadav Gal, Nimrod Rinot, Ofir Raul Graizer, Doron Alon, Ron Hirsch
98 min. | Drama

Seven award-winning short films that tell of the diversity of gay life in the Holy Land. Seven boys defend their right to religion, politics, machismo and lust for life.


God’s Neighbours (2012)
(Gottes Nachbarn | המשגיחים)
Director: Meni Yaesh
102 min. | Drama

The film follows Avi, Kobi and Yaniv, three young men who belong to the Breslev Hassidic community and place themselves in charge of supervising the codes of modesty, without hesitating to use violence to convey the message. When Miri moves into the neighborhood, Avi is torn between his feelings for her and the codes of the gang.

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Hanna’s Journey (2013)
(Hannas Reise | המסע של האנה)
Director: Julia von Heinz
100 min. | Comedy, Romance

A German girl travels to Israel to help people with disabilities, where she learns a lot about the role of her grandparents in World War II and meets a man who wants to move to Berlin.


In Between (2016)
(Bar Bahar |לא פה, לא שם | بَر بَحَر)
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
103 min. | Drama

Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern culture.


Infiltration (2010)
(Infiltration | התגנבות יחידים)
Director: Dover Koshashvili
120 min. | Drama

1956 – A few years after the War of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel. Immigration is at its peak, transit camps are scattered throughout the country. This is the story of one platoon comprised of conscripts from Ashkenazi Jews, new immigrants from North Africa and Europe, Holocaust survivors, as well as both secular and religious individuals. All the platoon members are physically unfit or mentally disabled. They find themselves on the extreme margins of society, at the bottom of the social ladder, and dream of ascending to the top.

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Intimate Grammar (2010)
(HaDikduk HaPnimi | הדקדוק הפנימי)
Director: Nir Bergman
110 min. | Drama

A young boy with growth disorders lives through his daily life’s tragedies and comedies, while struggling to come to terms with his own personal problems.


Jellyfish (2007)
(Jellyfish – Vom Meer getragen | מדוזות)
Director: Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret
78 min. | Drama

Jellyfish tells the story of three very different Israeli women living in Tel Aviv whose intersecting stories weave an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. Batya, a catering waitress, takes in a young child apparently abandoned at a local beach. Batya is one of the servers at the wedding reception of Keren, a young bride who breaks her leg in trying to escape from a locked toilet stall, which ruins her chance at a romantic honeymoon in the Caribbean. One of the guests is Joy, a Philippine chore woman attending the event with her employer, and who doesn’t speak any Hebrew (she communicates mainly in English), and who is guilt-ridden after having left her young son behind in the Philippines.

Late Marriage (2001)
(Hochzeit wider Willen | חתונה מאוחרת)
Director: Dover Koshashvili
102 min. | Drama

The film centers on Zaza, the 31-year-old child of tradition-minded Georgian Jewish immigrants who are anxiously trying to arrange a marriage for him. Unbeknownst to them, he is secretly dating a 34-year-old divorcée, Judith (Ronit Elkabetz). When his parents discover the relationship and violently intervene, Zaza must choose between his family traditions and his love. Most of the main characters are Georgian-Israeli and the dialogue is partly in the Judaeo-Georgian language and partly in Hebrew.

Lemon Tree (2008)
(Zitronenbaum | עץ לימון)
Director: Eran Riklis
106 min. | Drama, War

In this moving drama, a Palestinian widow forms a silent bond with the wife of the Israeli Defense Minister when he threatens to destroy her lemon grove.


The Matchmaker (2010)
(Ein Sommer in Haifa | פעם הייתי)
Director: Avi Nesher
118 min. | Drama

During the summer of 1968 a teenage boy goes to work for a matchmaker who has survived the Holocaust – both their lives are forever altered.


Menachem & Fred (2007)
(Menachem und Fred | מנחם ופרד)
Director: Ronit Kertsner, Ofra Tevet
90 min. | Documentary

The reunion of two German-Jewish brothers – who took vastly different directions at the end of World War II, and needed a lifetime to find their way back to each other.


Metallic Blues (2004)
(Metallic Blues | מטאליק בלוז)
Director: Dan Verete
90 min. | Comedy, Drama

The two Israelis, Shmuel and Siso, buy a 1985 Lincoln Continental, which they plan to export to Germany and sell for a profit. Things don’t go exactly according to plan and instead of becoming rich, they get into wild adventures, which change their perspective on Germany and the Germans.

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Mountain (2015)
(Berg | ההר)
Director: Yaelle Kayam
83 min. | Drama

A young Orthodox Jewish woman becomes ensconced in a nocturnal community of prostitutes and drug dealers that congregates in the ancient cemetery atop Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.


Out in the Dark (2012)
(Liebe sprengt Grenzen | עלטה)
Director: Michael Mayer
96 min. | Drama, Romance, Thriller

A drama centered on the love affair between two men on opposite sides of the Mid-East conflict: Palestinian student Nimer and Roy, an Israeli lawyer.

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Rashevski’s Tango (2003)
(Der Tango der Rashevskis | הטנגו של רשבסקי)
Director: Sam Garbarski
90 min. | Drama, Romance

Adolphe ’Dolfo‘ Rashevski travels to Israel with grandson Ric, but his brother, orthodox rabbi Samuel ‘Shmouel’, refuses to come attend their fellow Auschwitz survivor sister Rosa’s funeral. Back in their home, the whole well-integrated family and their ‘gojim’ (non-Jewish and would-be) partners regularly wrestle with the meaning of Jewish blood, traditions and religion. For one it seems the way to gain a wife, for others the bomb under or the obstacle for a marriage. Yet love tends to conquer all but death.

Sand Storm (2016)
(Sandsturm | סופת חול)
Director: Elite Zexer
88 min. | Drama

When a Bedouin patriarch takes a second bride, his first wife chafes against her changing status while his daughter chases her own dreams of autonomy.


The Secrets (2007)
(The Secrets | הסודות)
Director: Avi Nesher
120 min. | Drama

Within the Orthodox Jewish Community, the attitudes toward females have remained virtually unchanged for 2,000 years. In this religious-themed drama, accomplished Israeli filmmaker Avi Nesher explores the complications that arise when the relationships between a group of women residing in a midrasha (all-female seminary) in Safed turn suddenly volatile.

Turn Left at the End of the World (2004)
(Sof Ha’Olam Smola | סוף העולם שמאלה)
Director: Avi Nesher
110 min. | Drama, Romance

As a family from India moves in to a desert neighborhood in Southern Israel in the 1960’s, the family’s eldest, beautiful daughter discovers friendship and romance with the lovely local French girl. The film also explores the hardships and surprises that come with the integration of multiple families from different ethnic backgrounds (from the diaspora) and their struggle with immigration and prejudice.

Walk on Water (2004)
(Lalechet al HaMajim | ללכת על המים)
Director: Eytan Fox
104 min. | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Eyal, a cold and closed Mossad agent is being sent on a mission: to find an aging Nazi war criminal and get him “before God does”. In order to track down the old man, Eyal poses as a tour guide and befriends the Nazi’s adult grandchildren, Axel and Pia. Although he has a job to perform, Eyal truly befriends Axel and Pia. They spend time together and Eyal enjoys himself, even if he would not openly admit so. His friendship with Axel allows him to display some humanity, letting down his tough-guy machismo.

The Wedding Plan (2016)
(Eine, die sich traut | לעבור את הקיר)
Director: Rama Burshtein
110 min. | Comedy, Romance

When her fiancé bows out on the eve of her wedding, Michal refuses to cancel the wedding arrangements. An Orthodox Jew, she insists that God will supply her a husband. As the clock ticks down.


What a Wonderful Place (2005)
(Willkommen in Israel | איזה מקום נפלא)
Director: Eyal Halfon
104 min. | Drama

A “mosaic” with a number of plots skilfully joined together dealing with the hardship of immigrants’ life, prostitution, addiction to gambling in Israel.


Youth (2013)
(Noar | נוער)
Director: Tom Shoval
107 min. | Drama

Yaki and Shaul are two teenage brothers who share a strong, almost telepathic connection. Their family is suffering from an overgrowing debt, which has caused their father to fall into a deep depression. The brothers feel that they can’t just stand on the sidelines while their family falls apart. Until recently, they were helpless, but now with Yaki’s enlistment to the army, like every other 18 year old Israeli boy, he is given a rifle. This rifle gives the brothers the power they need to act and at once they are transformed from helpless teenagers into men.

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