The Nathan Axelrod Newsreel Collection

Don Quixote and Saad Pancha

89 Minutes, 1956

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Directed by: Nathan Axelrod
Cast: Mordecai Dagan, Abraham Kastro, Shimshon Bar-Noy
Production:Nathan Axelrod
Photographer: Alex Ben Dor, Yoseph Malka
Language: Hebrew
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Israeli film pioneer, Axelrod, sets this children’s adventure against the backdrop of the 1948 War of Independence. In the film, two adventure-loving friends end up in trouble when they sneak into the tiger’s cage at the local zoo in search of a treasure. The two friends (portrayed using every period stereotype imaginable) are: European Dan who goes to school and has overprotective parents, and Yemenite Saadia who does not attend school and makes a living shining shoes, and whose parents are not once mentioned in the film. After Dan is caught and his parents send him away to the Hadasim boarding school, Saadia sneaks into a bus that is headed to the remote school in search of his ‘exiled’ friend. The boarding school, whose purpose was to expunge Dan’s mind of any and all flights of fancy, ends up becoming yet another fertile ground for a slew of new adventures which not only exist in Dan’s imagination, but are also part and parcel of Jewish life in the land, on the eve of the Declaration of Independence.

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