Mountain / Ha’har

Adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City looms the Mount of Olives, home to the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world. Amidst the white tombstones sits a small stone house, the only residence on the cemetery grounds. First-time feature filmmaker Yaelle Kayam has chosen this visually stunning and historically resonant location as the setting for a tale of a young woman's struggle to find herself. Shani Klein plays an Orthodox woman living with her teacher husband Reuven (Avshalom Pollak) and four children in the cemetery's lone little house. She works hard to make it a good home, but while her children and husband are at school, she cannot help feeling isolated. And so she walks the narrow footpaths among the headstones, striking up sweetly innocuous conversations with tourists and the Palestinian groundskeeper. But Reuven grows increasingly remote from her, and her unbearable loneliness finally drives her to walk the cemetery at night for the first time - upon which she discovers that it's a nocturnal marketplace for prostitutes and drug dealers. Shocked but fascinated, she makes contact with this completely foreign society, and finds that she receives far more appreciation from the denizens of the night than from her own family. But the young mother's secret new relationships only contribute to her inner turbulence, leading her to make a decision that has far-reaching consequences. Mountain immerses us in the rhythms and questions of the woman's inner and outer life, drawing us in with its beautifully composed images and enveloping us in a succession of aural details: children laughing, tour buses parking, brooms sweeping, church bells ringing, muezzins' calls, Jewish prayers, and silence.

Original title:
83 minutes
Yaelle Kayam

Shown at

  1. 21st Denver Jewish Film Festival - 2017
  2. 26th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival - 2016
  3. Atlanta Jewish Film Festival - 2016
  4. Barshop JCC Jewish Film Festival - 2016
  5. Brussels Jewish International Film Festival - 2017
  6. Geneva International Jewish Film Festival - 2016
  7. Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  8. Houston Jewish Film Festival - 2016
  9. New Jersey Jewish Film Festival - 2016
  10. Washington Jewish Film Festival - 2016

1 Response

  1. jewishfilmfests says:

    Yaelle Kayam’s “Mountain”: Grave Matters at New Directors/New Films
    The setting of Yaelle Kayam’s Mountain is Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. This is where, according to Jewish and Christian scriptures, the Messiah will arrive on the Day of Judgment and resurrect the dead. This is also the unlikely spot where our heroine (Shani Klein) and her Yeshiva teacher husband, Reuven (Avshallom Pollack), are raising four young children in the Orthodox Jewish tradition.

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