The following article addresses the appropriation of the “spiritual style” paradigm, as articulated by certain well-known filmmakers (e.g., Robert Bresson and Yasujirō Ozu) and film theorists (e.g., Henri Agel, Amédée Ayfre, Susan Sontag, and Paul Schrader), into the Israeli-Judaic cinematic context through a close analysis of Avishai Sivan’s debut feature, The Wanderer (2010). This reading maintains that the “spiritual style” is not used in the film as it was traditionally imagined—that is, to validate divine existence—but rather as means of questioning the nature and value of this existence. This skeptical position, however, never amounts to a wholehearted denial of the possibility of a god, since it is articulated from within the “spiritual style” rather than from without. Thus when interpreted through its formal language, the film emerges as a complex attempt at balancing rejections and affirmations of devotional life, one suitable for a period in Israeli history where the once oppositional Judaic and secular realities have gradually become more intertwined.


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pp. 25-47
Launched on MUSE
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