A Day in Degania (film #16 in the Pre-State section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This 1937 film shows us Degania, the first kibbutz in what would later become Israel. The film is very optimistic in tone, showing the kibbutz as highly successful, both economically and socially, and giving Jews everywhere hope. Considering this was made when Nazi anti-Semitism was rapidly taking over Europe, that was probably true. This is a very historically interesting film as it documents the history of the kibbutz movement, as well as the development of Jewish settlement in Palestine. The visuals, especially, give a real sense of what it was like to live in a kibbutz at the time. Some of the political ideas expressed, such as the superiority of Jewish agriculture or the status of women, will be considered controversial, but those too give you a real sense of the time and place the film was made.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.

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