The Simhon Family

88 Minutes, 1964
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Directed by: Joel Silberg
Cast: Shoshana Barnea, Meir Margalit, Rina Ganor, Oded Kotler , Tikva Mor, Shraga Friedman, Yisrael (Polly) Poliakov, Hanan Goldblatt, Edna Fliedel, Elisheva Michaeli
Production Company:Noy Films Ltd.Shoval Film Production
Photographer: Marko Yaacobi
Original Music: Dov Seltzer
Language: Hebrew
Subtitles: Hebrew, English

The same year that saw the theatrical release of Ephraim Kishon’s milestone film, Sallah that gave both a face and a voice to the underlying social and ethnic rifts in Israeli society, this film by Joel Silberg also came out. Based on a series of radio skits that aired on military radio station, Galei Tzahal, The Simhon Family shone a defining light on the Israeli bourgeoisie’s major place in society. The plot follows the exploits of the Simhons – a Tel Avivian family. The patriarch, an erstwhile pioneer in the Jewish labour corps is now the owner of an import and export business. Rounding off the family are his homemaker wife, his military officer son, and daughter Nava who is still in high school. The film is a charming and most endearing look at a post-pioneering Israel whose denizens are now preoccupied with the minutiae of day-to-day life including cars, property, tenders, love, and a life of leisure. Silberg styles this lighthearted drama with grace and elegance – and indeed, his polished directing style shines through in this film, after which his career officially took off. The Simhon Family may very well be the first ever, fully-fledged Israeli film – seamlessly and skilfully shot, edited, and acted – with no awkward fumbling about anywhere in sight.

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