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Documentary Film

RBG: Icon and Bubbe

The film traces her transformation from a young Jewish girl in Brooklyn ... to her current status as a veteran justice, cultural icon, and bubbe. Younger women may know more about RBG’s more recent work, but the film emphasizes how her early work in the 1960s and ‘70s totally changed life for American women in fundamental ways.

The Return: A Filmmaker Discovers Modern Jewish Poland

How did I end up spending four years traveling across three continents to track the lives of four young Polish women as they explored their newfound Jewish roots?

Because that’s what I do. I’m a documentary filmmaker. I try and get into the lives of people and make sense of their various turns and choices: the stories of how people change over time. It’s a combination of being an anthropologist, journalist and a therapist, all in the service of storytelling. It’s difficult, challenging, maddening—but it’s also the greatest thing in the world.

Advanced Style: An Interview with Joyce Carpati

On his hugely popular fashion blog Advanced Style, photographer Ari Seth Cohen has introduced readers to some of the world’s most fashionable, fabulous, inspiring women, including Iris Apfel and Linda Rodin. The blog, which features stylish women over 50, has been so successful since it’s founding in 2008 that it has since produced a book and now a documentary film of the same name. Fans come to Advanced Style for the fashion and the flamboyance, but the blog’s commentary on society’s fixation on youth and beauty has been just as influential: even Vogue Italia called Advanced Style less a street-style blog than "a sociological treatise" on ageing and identity. For those readers of Advanced Style who long to know more about the subjects of Mr. Cohen’s photos, the new film is an absolute joy. It delves into the lives and backstories of seven of the blog’s most beloved subjects, including Joyce Carpati, who at 82 must be the world’s most elegant woman.

Gertrude Wishnick Dubrovsky, 1926 - 2012

Gertrude Wishnick Dubrovsky’s parents immigrated to the United States from Poland around the turn of the last century. Early in their marriage, they made an unsuccessful try at farming and then operated a hand laundry on New York’s Lower East Side. With the help of a land grant from Jewish charities set up for that purpose, they tried again, joining a community of Jewish farmers in Farmingdale, NJ.

Carole Hart

I find it very ironic that Carole Hart, of all people, recognized her Judaism toward the end of her life. I was always trying to drag her to synagogue, and she would have none of it. But it took a very special community, Romemu in New York, to bring her to it (of course after I left NYC!) and one of the very special things that community does that is their own shmirah—their own members guard the body until it is laid to rest. I stopped by to have some time with Carole, and there were two lovely women sitting there.

Johanna Spector

Through her scholarship and the documentary films she produced, Johanna Spector not only preserved the music of Jewish communities around the world but introduced them to new audiences.

Betty Ross

At the cutting edge of journalism for her time, Betty Ross travelled the globe in search of stories and was one of the first journalists to experiment with radio interviews.

Lilly Rivlin

Lilly Rivlin has used her skills as a historian and documentary filmmaker to capture Jewish history in the making.

Elinor Guggenheimer

Elinor Guggenheimer focused her career in city government on higher standards for childcare and on greater representation of women in politics.

Goldie Hawn

As an actress, Goldie Hawn became known for playing dumb blondes, but behind the camera, she was determined to fulfill her vision as an executive producer and director.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Documentary Film." (Viewed on May 26, 2018) <https://jwa.org/tags/documentary-film>.

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