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Directors

Elaine May

Elaine May, half of one of the most successful American comic teams of the 1950s and 1960s, became one of Hollywood’s first important female directors in the 1970s and 1980s. She has often combined her talents for acting and screenwriting with her role as director.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Marceline Loridan-Ivens is known around the world for the superb documentaries that she codirected with her husband, the Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens (1898–1989). But the earliest part of her career, as well as her most recent work, depart from the documentaries by providing very personal, profoundly moving reflections on her identity as a Jewish woman, and it is her latest film, A Birch Tree Meadow/La petite prairie aux bouleaux (2003), that both established her as a significant voice in Jewish cinema and inaugurated (at age 75!) a new career as a feature film maker.

Gertrud Kraus

Gertrud Kraus, the “first lady” of modern expressionistic dance in Israel, was born in Vienna on May 5, 1901.

Esther Rachel Kaminska

In the first pages of her autobiography My Life, My Theater Ida Kaminska writes of her mother Esther Rachel, termed “the Jewish Eleonora Duse,” that she was educated by three forces: “the poverty she saw with her clever eyes, the suffering with which her great heart empathised, the injustice against which she was able to rebel. All became components of Esther Rachel Kaminska.”

Barbara Honigmann

Barbara Honigmann, who was born in East Berlin on February 12, 1949, is the most distinguished German-Jewish writer of the generations born after the Holocaust. Her father, Georg Honigmann, Ph.D. (1903–1984), who was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, emigrated to Great Britain in 1933 but later returned to the GDR, where he was a prominent journalist and film producer. Her mother, Alice (née Kohlmann, 1910–1984), was born in Vienna and emigrated to Great Britain in 1934. She worked in film dubbing. The couple divorced in 1954.

Rokhl Holzer

For Rokhl Holzer, a riveting recital artiste and unforgettable star of the Yiddish stage, acting the part was never enough. She lived and breathed each role, mesmerizing audiences in Poland, Lithuania, Australia, Israel, USA, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden with her ability to transform herself into any character she portrayed. Holzer was also an adept and adored director of the Yiddish theater, a true team worker who brought out the best in all with whom she shared the stage.

Ofira Henig

Unlike most of Israel’s young directors, Ofira Henig never worked in fringe theaters but began her career in the country’s establishment. Although in this context directing was considered primarily a male occupation, her career developed rapidly and steadily. Her Beit Zvi successes led Omri Nitzan, the artistic director of Habimah, to engage her to direct Zahav (Gold) by Yossef Bar-Yossef in 1989. She served as house-director and a member of the artistic council at Habimah from 1991 to 1993, during which time she directed Yehoshua Sobol’s The Night of the Twenty (1990), Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie (1991), The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorsky (1992), Creditors by August Strindberg 1993) and Euripides’s Hippolytus (1993), as well as other plays, such as Pony and Anton by Erich Kästner (1991). When, in 1996, she was asked why she was choosing to leave so highly-rated a position, she replied “Because I felt stuck”—a response that typified her professional integrity.

Hebrew Theater: Yishuv to the Present

From its beginnings early in the twentieth century, Hebrew theater was the province of men. With the exception of a few trailblazers such as Miriam Bernstein-Cohen, who translated and produced plays, it was not until the 1980s that women writers and directors began to work in the Israeli theater. Of all the theatrical professions, only actresses had truly been partners in the enterprise of reviving Hebrew culture. It is therefore appropriate to begin with several of the most important of these and to go on from there to playwrights and directors.

Rose Franken

Rose Dorothy Lewin Franken was a celebrated Broadway playwright and director, a Hollywood screenwriter and a popular novelist whose fiction touched a sympathetic chord in American women.

Filmmakers, Israeli

Women filmmakers who have made a significant contribution to Israeli film, in both the narrative and documentary film genres, have added a particularly feminist perspective to Israeli filmmaking.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Directors." (Viewed on November 29, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/directors>.

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