The Israel Film Fund Collection

Aviya’s Summer

96 Minutes, 1988
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Directed by: Eli Cohen
Cast: Gila Almagor, Kaipo Cohen, Eli Cohen, Avital Dicker
Production:Eitan Evan, Gila Almagor
Production Company:United King Films
Photographer: David Gurfinkel
Language: Hebrew
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Aviya’s Summer is one of Israeli cinema’s greatest, most-beloved success stories of the 1980s. Gila Almagor, who stars in the film, also co-produced it with Eitan Evan and co-wrote the script with Haim Bouzaglo, based on her autobiographical book of the same title in which she recounts her childhood experiences.
Ten-year-old fatherless Aviya is taken out of boarding school by her Holocaust survivor mother, who was recently discharged from a psychiatric ward. Together, they live in an agricultural village in early 1950s Israel. The film is made up of various episodes following Aviya’s attempts at fitting into society, and scenes portraying the incredibly strained, difficult relationship between herself and her mentally ill mother, including the famous scene where the mother shaves Aviya’s head when she suspects she has lice – an act that turns the shorn young girl into the object of scorn and ridicule of all the other village kids – and one of the film’s most poignant scenes when it is Aviya’s birthday and the party is universally snubbed by everyone. In fact, the scene had traumatised Israeli children of the eighties so much so that the term ‘Aviya bufday [sic]’ was coined, referring to a failed get-together that no one’s bothered to attend.
Aviya’s Summer took home the Golen Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival, in addition to featuring at multiple other festivals around the world, winning scores of awards. In 1994, the sequel Under the Domim Tree was released.

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