“From a Distance: Orna Ben-Dor's Holocaust Quintet,”
Orna Ben-Dor (1954- ) is one Israel’s most prominent filmmakers and
television directors. By the 2000s Ben-Dor had directed four films with
Holocaust survivors as her main protagonists. The article analyzes the
central themes in Ben-Dor’s Holocaust-related films and explains how the
director maintains a perspective of distance. Because she so often relates in
film interviews to her parents’ Holocaust and her sensitivity as a secondgeneration Holocaust survivor, one might have expected her to engage
with the topic in her autobiographical documentary, released in 2009.
However, as this article will show, Ben-Dor downplays the Holocaust in
this film and turns the camera inward to focus on gender rather than on
the hallmark themes of her previous films: PTSD of Holocaust survivors,
the transgenerational transfer of trauma to the second generation and the
absorption of Holocaust survivors in Israel. As a director who has played
such an important part in Israel’s Holocaust commemoration, Ben-Dor
remains strangely reticent about her own personal Holocaust-related story
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Israeli Cinema; Holocaust Survivors; Second Generation, Gender
Liat Steir-Livny, “From a Distance: Orna Ben-Dor's Holocaust Quintet,” Israel Studies, Volume 28, Number 1, Spring 2023, pp. 215-232.