‘Jewish film’ has been substantially shaped by the Jewish film festivals emerging since the 1980s, originally in the USA, but there were discussions about ‘Jewishness’ in the context of film before that. Exhibitions highlighted the Jewish experience in film history and films were produced for exhibitions in Jewish museums, for example. Retrospectives and film series focused on Jewish actors or certain chapters in film history, such as Yiddish-language cinema. Just as importantly, journalistic discussions of Jewish film history took place and contributed to increasing visibility and continued analysis. Now there are film distributors specialising in Jewish topics as well as streaming services with a similar focus. This research project will explore how analysis of the Jewish experience in film history has taken shape and developed in a discursive context and how the concept of ‘Jewish film’, by no means homogeneous, came about.
The research group is funded by PostDocNetwork Brandenburg.