Three Short Films Offer New Take on Passover Seder

March 19, 2021
The Four Sons–Musicians version (Courtesy 7th Art Releasing)

It’s getting closer to the Passover Seder (evening of March 27) and Phil Miller of 7th Art Releasing notified the Journal that his company stands ready to embrace and clarify the holiday through three short films.

The titles are, respectively “The Four Sons and All Their Sons,” “The Seder” and “Life and Hummus.”

Over the centuries and across the Jewish communities of the Diaspora the Haggadah has seemingly gone through as many transformations and interpretations as there are creative Jews on this planet and new ones sprout with each generation.

“The Four Sons and All Their Sons” poses a series of questions. Besides representing four types of Jewish youngsters, and their levels of understanding, do the lads also represent each of four generations after immigration from the shtetl to new worlds? Or different stages of evolution in each youngster?

Or do we accept the interpretation of the Survivors’ Haggadah, which challenges God to explain why so many sons are missing after the Holocaust?

To personify the different sons, the wise son may be a kibbutznik while the wicked son is frequently depicted as a soldier. And as we seek to become more inclusive, there are now haggadot for girls and for interfaith families.

However, organizing a Seder is not without peril as tensions rise amidst last-minute preparations and old quarrels resurface with new vigor, alternating with fervent declarations of mutual affection.

In the 12-minute film “The Seder”  by Canadian Justin Kelly, gay son Leo decides that the Seder is the ideal time to introduce his lover Mitchell to his straight-laced family. In no time, the scene devolves into the stereotypical Jewish family so beloved of comedy writers.

If food is a (or The) crucial ingredient of the Seder, a third film is titled “Life and Hummus.” There are still debates among the learned whether hummus is appropriately kosher for the Seder, but those who dote on the delicacy will endorse the third film, “Life and Hummus.”

Like a visitor to New York might compile a list of bars serving the best drinks, Alvin Mitchell leaves his Los Angeles habitat to embark on a tour of Israel in search of the perfect delicacy, beloved equally by Jews, Arabs, Ethiopians and Christians. In addition, one connoisseur insists that the highest quality hummus comes from Turkey.

Another expect insists that “to take chickpeas and make one of the most beloved food on the planet, everything must be made by hand.”

The ingredients, according to one chef, start with garlic, hummus (smash it), lemon and tahini, all, of course, mixed by hand.

Mitchell’s pilgrimage takes him from Tel Aviv and Jaffa to Abu Gosh, West and East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Haifa, Akko, Nazareth,Bethlehem and the West Bank. If the viewer takes notes, he/she should end up with a list of the premier Hummus joints in the Holy Land.

For additional information and to order the films, go to http://www.7thart.com, and then to bookings@7thart.com.

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