The lecture will explore representations of “chameleon” or hybrid Jewish figures in cinema: Jewish characters that change their appearance, transform their identity, infiltrate other cultures and express their Jewishness by becoming “other-than-Jewish”. The hybrid Jew will be discussed from the theoretical perspective of postcolonial studies, feminism and queer studies, post-structural French philosophy and traditional Jewish sources. The films that will be discussed are mixtures of Jewish characters and themes with genres that usually do not include Jews (for example the western or the blaxploitation genres). We will see not only how Jews function within typically non-Jewish genres, but also how these genres are reshaped and challenged by the peculiar intrusion of hybrid Jews.
Dr. Amir Vodka is a lecturer and researcher at the department of media studies, University of Amsterdam. He is a film programmer at theater De Nieuwe Regentes (The Hague), the artistic director of Sounds of Silence festival for silent films and contemporary music, and the director of Palestinorama festival for Palestinian cinema and culture. He was a film curator at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum, and was the head of Jewish education at Beit ha Chidush synagogue (Amsterdam). His PhD titled “The Human Chameleon” was about hybrid Jews in Cinema. He currently writes about the reincarnations of the golem – from the Jewish tradition to contemporary sci-fi.
Moderator: Eleanor Kaufman (UCLA)