Filmmaker Monique Schwarz integrates her
personal story into an examination of the representations of the Jewish mother on screen. She speaks to directors, critics and cinema historians, and delves into silent, Yiddish and Israeli films, to challenge the dominant depiction of the Jewish mother as shrill and domineering.

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Mamadrama is a unique film and perhaps also an important tribute to the real nature of the Jewish mother.

What characteristics define the Jewish mother in popular culture? Most would agree with loud, obnoxious and overprotective. What about warm, affectionate and loving? How many would agree with manipulative, overbearing, tender and loving? Through strong research, documentarian Monique Schwarz (Bitter Herbs and Honey) sets out to explore why the Jewish mother has only ever been portrayed as a stereotype in cinema history, and discovers that they are only accurately portrayed in the old Yiddish films and contemporary Israeli cinema.


Whilst Schwarz moves through the history of cinema dealing with the Jewish mother, she juxtaposes numerous film clips, interviews with film historians, directors and actors and her own personal recreated narrative. She sets out to focus on the Jewish mother’s place in the stages of film history, but somehow glosses over some critical movements and their impact on the character, most notably the Holocaust.


Mamadrama is a unique film and perhaps also an important tribute to the real nature of the Jewish mother, yet it doesn’t have any substantive evidence or depth to cement its points. Schwarz seems to lose focus amidst the film clips and the stages of her own life when she should really be looking more closely at her initial concept.

Filmink 3/5


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G
1 hour 13 min

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