The Women Pioneers

( Israel / 2012 )
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A hundred years ago, women pioneers came from Europe to Palestine, to realize the dream of creating a new woman in a new world, a woman who is as independent as men are. The women pioneers have left diaries and texts which tell their stories. Their writings shed new light on the archival footage of the time. The Women/Pioneers uncovers the course of their passionate battles and painful disappointments, until they were defeated, and gave up their own liberation for the national struggle.
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Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 50 min.
Theme: Gender, Immigration and Migration, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Women
Language(s): Hebrew
Subtitles: English
Director(s): Michal Aviad
Producer(s): Edna Kowarsky, Elinor Kowarsky
Cinematographer: Based On Archive see all »
Editor(s): Erez Laufer
The Women Pioneers

Press

  • "A nuanced and wrenchingly moving story, WOMEN PIONEERS points a radically new lens on a history that’s largely been understood through the experiences of men. It cleverly stretches the historical, in the archival documentary form, bringing female characters to life and unearthing the feminist underpinnings of the pioneers' movement".
    Sundance Film Festival
    Caroline Libresco
  • The relationship between women and Israel has long been contentious. On many counts the country has been on the cutting edge of progressive rights, yet its residual chauvinism repeatedly obstruct women’s freedom. A powerful new film tackles this set of problems with distinctive voices, exploring what Israel was able to offer women throughout the last century—an escape, an opportunity, a dream—and whether it fulfilled its promise.
    Some Zionist Dreams Still Unfulfilled
    Lauren Davidson

Academic Notes

  • Women/Pioneers: Challenging the Myth of Zionist Egalitarianism, by Shmirit Lee
    "Ultimately, the film challenges and takes apart the egalitarian utopian ideal of the Yishuv. Whereas early Zionist films dared not show any negative aspects of the settlement project for fear of public reprisal and even censorship, Women/Pioneers sheds light on the power dynamics and turmoil that shook early kibbutz life"

Quotes & Tweets

  • Jury Statement - International Women's Film Festival in Rehovot
    The Best Documentary Film Award goes to Michal Aviad’s The Women Pioneers. Michal Aviad turns the spotlight on one of Zionist history’s hidden corners. Using fascinating journals, rare archival materials and complex editing, she manages to create a wonderful collage, giving for the first time voice to women who arrived to Palestine at the 1920s. And what kind of voice is it? Clear, committed, interrogative, critical and painful. It feels the pain of the new woman, the model society and the dream of equality between the sexes. We are especially happy to grant the Best Documentary Film Award to a film that gives a voice to the women, whose aspirations and questions from 90 years ago are so relevant to our life today.

awards & accolades

  • International Women's Film Festival in Rehovot - Best Documentary Award

Festival participation

  • International Women's Film Festival in Rehovot 2013
  • Docaviv 2013
  • Sundance Film Festival 2013

viewers comments

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Additional Info
In Co-production With The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archives Of The Hebrew University Of Jerusalem And The World Zionist Organization

Script: Era Lapid & Michal Aviad

Research: Tamar Katz & Michal Aviad

Production Company: Eden Productions
Distribution Company: Cinephil

  • Directors Notes

    The Women Pioneers is my first film that is entirely made from archival footage and written texts. In it I wanted to bring the viewers back to the 1920’s in the Galilee, into the lives of Jewish women pioneers who came from Europe, in the hope of creating a new woman. After finding the relevant footage we worked in the editing room to create a montage that reveals as much as possible of their daily experiences in relation to the texts they wrote in their diaries. While the footage and the texts are from the first part of the 20th century, the actresses who deliver the texts, are young Israeli women, who remind us through their delivery that the struggle for equality and liberation, is unfortunately still relevant to us, the women of today.

     

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The Women Pioneers

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