Film Fest to hold virtual showing of “Neighbours” in February

By Reporter staff

The Jewish International Film Fest of Greater Binghamton will hold a virtual showing of the drama “Neighbours,” a film by writer/director Mano Khalil. The film won the San Francisco Film Critics Jury Prize as best film at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2021. A discussion of` “Neighbours” will be moderated by Dr. Dina Danon, associate professor of Judaic studies and Middle East and North Africa studies at Binghamton University.

People will be able to register here, and a link to the film will be sent out on Sunday night, February 6. The film will be streamed free for up to 50 computers and will be available for viewing for four days prior to the event. On Thursday, February 10, at 7 pm, Danon will facilitate the online video discussion of the film.

The film takes place in a small village on the Syrian-Turkish border in the early ‘80s and tells the story of Sero, a 6-year-old Kurdish boy, during his first year in Arab school. A new teacher in his school preaches anti-Zionism, which confuses Sero because of his connection to his longtime neighbors, a Jewish family. Critics have noted that “with a fine sense of humor and satire, the film tells of a childhood, which, between dictatorship and dark drama, also has its light moments.”

Susan Hubal, chairwoman of the Film Fest Committee, said, “‘Neighbours’ is a gritty film combining a raw environment and cruelty with warmth, love and pathos. It is based on the filmmaker’s own history when he was a small, precocious child and rings sad, but true.” The Jewish Film Review called the film “funny and emotionally uplifting. ‘Neighbours’ is an important humanistic work and a stunning achievement.”

Danon’s research at Binghamton University “focuses on the eastern Sephardi Diaspora during modern times and draws heavily on previously unexplored Ladino language archival material. [She] is particularly interested in social history and how its tools help revise prevailing scholarship not only on the Sephardi world, but on Jewish modernity as a whole.” Her book, “The Jews of Ottoman Izmir: A Modern History,” was published in 2020.