An Interview with Anat Zuria
Toward an Understanding with Women in Male-Dominated Societies
Q: Why did you want to make this film?
AZ: Because I was part of this tradition and it was part of my life. So I had an insider’s view. I knew from inside that nobody spoke about it, so I decided that I will be the one who will break the silence. My intention was not to tell a Jewish story, but to tell something universal through film, based on my own personal experiences. All over the world you have religion in culture that is male dominated. So every woman knows the feeling that though she is in her own culture, she can feel as an insider and also an outsider. I hope this film will touch women and they will think about their culture.
Q: The images of water are very memorable . . .
AZ: The Jewish teaching is that natural water, such as spring water or ocean water, should be used. The water in the mikve (cleansing bath) must be natural water. How is this different from the water in the bath in my home? But if you think about why it is like this, I feel like through the laws of the mikve, they want to control me. It closes in women as being unclean until the purification is finished, like a prison. This feeling is expressed through the film.
Q: Since the rebellion by women in Egypt, have there been others?
AZ: I don’t know. Usually the history of women is that they don’t tell us. Usually it will be washed out. We know about these rebellions just because it was related to a very big and important rabbi. We know about the rebellion because of him, not because of the women.
Q: Are there people who break the religious laws?
AZ: As it says in the film, a man can divorce a woman if she breaks the law. But there are people who don’t follow the law. No one really knows the real truth, but through making this film, I think it is probably about one third who follow the law. But people who break the rule feel guilt. They are good people, but they feel like they are bad. So I hope that the law will change.
Q: What are you thinking about making for your next film?
AZ: I am making two other films about women and their relationship with different religious laws. And I have a script that will probably be the fourth film, and I want to make it similar to poetry in form.
(Compiled by Matsumoto Miho)
Interviewers: Matsumoto Miho, Tanaka Rio / Interpreter: O Aimi
Photography: Tanaka Rio / Video: Kato Takanobu / 2003-10-12