Jewish ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) cinema in Israel has become increasingly prominent in recent years. Emerging as a highly controversial, secluded, and gender-segregated form of “amateur cinema,” it is currently seeing gradual professionalization. This article discusses Haredi cinema in the context of the Haredi community’s relationship with the Israeli state and the doctrine of Zionism. Appropriating generic conventions of mainstream Hollywood cinema, yet keeping within the secluded Haredi space, this form of minority cinema functions as an alternative (virtual) sphere in which a complex set of negotiations occurs between Jewish ultra-Orthodox ideals and those of the surrounding Israeli society and Zionism. It is reflective of and engaged in the production of recent social and discursive transformations within the Haredi community in Israel. We examine this phenomenon through a focused analysis of the male action genre, specifically the popular series Jewish Revenge (Yehuda Grovais, 2000–2010). As we demonstrate, the mode of representation and the narratives of these films bring models of masculinities and notions of heroism under scrutiny. The Zionist narrative, the national body, and the (imaginary) place of the Haredi within it are being reconfigured through the prism of body politics and fantasies of transgression.


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pp. 48-76
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