Q&A with director Ilanit Swissa

Set in Sderot, a city in the south of Israel, this loving documentary portrait follows the life, culture, and rituals of an 84-year-old named Yamna. A miracle worker and a righteous woman, Yamna is regularly approached by people asking for help. Ilanit Swissa’s film frames Yamna’s life in prismatic fashion, allowing us to get to know her through those seeking her blessings, including a seemingly infertile woman who wants to get pregnant and a grandson who dreams of success in the music industry. At the same time, Yamna hopes to pass her mystical powers down to her daughter, Shula, though Shula has yet to discover how to embody them. In her observational work of nonfiction, Swissa portrays this unique and delightful individual with a combination of joy and curiosity.

Preceded by
Sami Morhayim
Turkey, 2021, 18 min.
Turkish with English subtitles
N.Y. Premiere
In Turkish director Sami Morhayim’s provocative drama, young Susam, on the morning of his  bar mitzvah, locks himself in his bedroom and refuses to leave. His family is unable to convince him to come out and, abiding by strict Shabbat rules, cannot break the door down, leading to an intellectual debate about religious faith and manhood.