The Spanish island of Mallorca has a long and shameful history of Jewish persecution, from the coerced baptisms that forced holdouts to keep their faith a secret (“crypto Jews”) to the Inquisition of the 15th century to the “auto-da-fé” rituals of the late 1600s, where Jews were publicly burned at the stake. The Xuetas are their heirs, bearing 15 surnames associated with Judaism and stigmatized accordingly. Forced to intermarry and divested of basic rights, their ordeal has long been compounded by a taboo against broaching the past, requiring them to internalize their trauma. Filmmaker Dani Rotstein, an American Jew, became fascinated by the heritage of these descendants, who’ve managed against all odds to influence the island’s culinary and commercial character. In Xueta Island, Rotstein and his co-directors ponder the current state of Judaism on Mallorca and reasons for optimism about the future.
Anita Bruvere, United Kingdom, 2019, 8 min.
Anita Bruvere’s prizewinning documentary short uses newspapers and fabrics to bring to life the saga of an East End London residence that sheltered refugees for 300 years, from Irish weavers to Jewish tailors. A mixture of 2D and stop-motion animation provides the aesthetic for this unique meditation on belonging.