Cinema Sabaya

Directed by Orit Fouks Rotem
Year: 2023
Country: Israel
Language: Arabic and Hebrew w/ English subtitles

A group of Palestinian and Israeli women attend a video workshop at a small town community center run by Rona (Dana Ivgy, Zero Motivation), a young filmmaker from Tel Aviv, who teaches them to document their lives. As each student shares footage from her home life with the others, their beliefs and preconceptions are challenged and barriers are broken down. The group comes together as mothers, daughters, wives, and women living in a world designed to keep them apart, forming an empowering and lasting bond as they learn more about each other... and themselves. Inspired by writer-director Orit Fouks Rotem’s own experiences as a teacher, CINEMA SABAYA presents a deft and heartfelt portrait of art’s capacity to unite disparate communities, moving effortlessly between the gravity of their conversations and the genuine joy of this unlikely group of friends. Israel’s Official Submission to the 95th Academy Awards and winner of five Ophir Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress (Joanna Said).

“Understated, powerful... Rotem’s light, authentic touch makes it an engaging journey... paint[s] a colourful picture of life as a woman in modern Israel.”

“The movie is well-paced and so engaging that it begins to resemble a Middle Eastern version of the television series, Orange is the New Black, as it brings together a group of women from different ethnicities and backgrounds.”

Cinema Sabaya shows what engaged Israeli filmmaking can achieve, dealing with Jewish and Arabs lives in a deep and precise way, and showing the possible realities within Israel.”

“Expressive and entirely authentic…Rotem’s film rewards audiences with many intensely charged and poignant moments.”

“Cinema Sabaya is protest in filmic form and Rotem does so with sensitivity and subtlety.”

Dana Ivgy
Joanna Said
Amal Murkus
Ruth Landau
Yulia Tagil

Directed by Orit Fouks Rotem
Writer Orit Fouks Rotem
Cinematographer Itay Marom