The Cemetery Club

( Israel / 2006 )
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For over two decades, a group of women and men have been meeting weekly at Israel’s National Cemetery to debate philosophy, read poetry, eat lunch and determine the fate of the Jewish nation.
Director Tali Shemesh focuses on two of the group’s members: her grandmother, and her great aunt Lena, their life choices and their relationship. A poignant, intimate, sometimes hilarious portrait of the Holocaust generation.
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Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 90/70 min.
Theme: Author's POV, European History, Family, Gender, History, Holocaust, Jewish Studies, Senior Citizenship see all »
Language(s): Hebrew, Polish
Subtitles: English
Director(s): Tali Shemesh
Producer(s): Assaf Amir
Cinematographer: Sharon De-Mayo
Editor(s): Aliza Esquira
The Cemetery Club


  • "The Cemetery Club is one of the most powerful and multi-layered documentaries I have seen in recent months. It has elements of tragedy and comedy, of rich fiction and poignant political satire. I enjoyed the fine artistic logic that Tali Shemesh employs to highlight the relationship between the two women on the background of their advancing age, their loneliness, and their mutual thirst for human contact. It is a magnificent film."
    Amos Oz
  • (Excellent) "Celebration of life. Sensitive, clever, funny, and above all – compassionate. Excellent".
    Kol Israel Reveiw
    Haim Keinan,
  • (Very Good) "Captivating, Funny and moving.,. made with plenty of talent. A must see!"
    Time Out Review
    Yael Shuv
  • "The Cemetery Club is the most successful Israeli Documentary ever!"
    Ha'aretz Newspaper,
  • (Very Good) "A beautiful film with precious moments"
    Cinemascope Reveiw
    Yair Rave
  • (Very Good) "Heartbreaking. One of the most moving documentaries I've seen"
    Yair Hochner
  • (Highly Recommended)
    "An excellent and touching story."
    Dvorit Sargal
  • "A fantastic relationship. Fellini-style scenes. Recommended!"
    London & Kirshenbaum
    Channel 10

Academic Notes

  • Ethics and Responsibility: The Feminization of the New Israeli Documentary, by Yael Munk
    "Shemesh’s camera offers visibility to these “invisible” women and their elderly friends who no longer contribute to society and therefore are no longer taken into account in the hegemonic discourse. The location of their club in the State’s most famous cemetery demonstrates their painful and ambivalent attitude towards their being forgotten."

Quotes & Tweets

  • The Golden Dove Award for Best Documentary
    "Despite the title the filmmaker has created a playful and witty film with many layers. And a strong main character whose dramatic life-story is treated with subtitle balance between humor and drama. It is a wonderful piece of filmmaking with careful editing and rich in detail."
    Dok-Liepzig Jury,
  • Doc-Aviv – Opening Night. Winner of "The Mayor of Tel-Aviv Award for Promising Filmmaker"
    "The Cemetery Club is a touching and multi-faceted documentary that overlays with humor the dignity and profound intelligence of this eccentric group of survivors.”
    The jury
  • Winner of "The Best Photography Award"
    "The [photography] highlights unique moments which can only be expressed in cinematic language. The film creates a dialogue between history and the present by capturing subtle moments reflected in the lovely old faces."
    The jury
  • Best Asian Documentary – The 12th Shanghai TV Festival,
    The Magnolia Award for :
    The prize for the best Asian documentary goes to The Cemetery Club- a lovely, philosophically rich film on the final chapter of life: the senior years. A diminishing circle of friends convenes a regular social gathering to combat loneliness with the effective antidote of community. The tough-as-nail character Lena takes center stage in this powerful and touching tale that inter-mingles reflections on life and death, past and present, friends and family.
    The jury

awards & accolades

  • - The European Film Academy Nomination for Best Documentary
  • Doc Aviv - The Mayor of Tel-Aviv Award, The Photography Award
  • Shanghai International TV Festival - Magnolia Award for Best Asian Documentary
  • Women's Film Festival Rehovot - The Best Film
  • Dok Leipzig - The Golden Dove Award for Best Documentary
  • Sarajevo Film Festival, Special Panorama Screening - 1 of 10 Public Awards

Festival participation

  • 2006
  • Doc Aviv 2006
  • Hot Docs,Official Competition 2006
  • Shanghai International TV Festival 2006
  • Women's Film Festival Rehovot 2006
  • Cannes Int'l Film Festival, Tout le Cinema Du Monde 2006
  • Dok Leipzig 2006
  • Best of Fests, IDFA 2006 2006
  • One World Film Festival, Prague 2006
  • Warsaw International Film Festival 2006
  • Bergen International Film Festival 2006
  • Sarajevo Film Festival, Special Panorama Screening 2006
  • Miami International Film Festival, Official Competition 2007

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Additional Info

Production Company:
Distribution Company: World Sales- Cinephil

The Cemetery Club

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