Wed. Oct. 28, 7:15pm at Cinemapolis

Jaff bannerSynopsis. A history of the cultivation and export of the world-famous Jaffa oranges and the coordinate history of the fruit’s branding, first as a symbol of the sunny Levant, grown and shipped by Palestinian workers, then, after 1948, as a product—and icon—of the Zionists’ investment in the redemption of the literal soil of Palestine. Sivan’s amalgam of archival black-and-white footage, his interviews with historians as well as with Palestinian and Israeli growers. and his lavish display of posters and paintings celebrating the fruit won his film the prize as Best Documentary by the International Jury at Milan in 2009.

From the International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam: A visual inquiry on the creation of one the most known brand names around the world, an examination of the economic, cultural, political and social influences that stand behind the branding of a product. A visual history of a sophisticated system of marketing that made ‘Jaffa citrus’ the logo of Zionism and Israel.

The filmmaker uses a great deal of archive footage, from the very earliest photography in 1840 right up to crisp, modern video. The images are accompanied by commentary from a range of experts, who watch them projected on the walls of their offices or on tablecloths hung up in their living rooms. From historians to art experts, poets to political analysts, each gives his or her perspective on the archive footage, which over the years has become increasingly laden with ideological significance. Orange eaters and pickers — many of whom remember the more harmonious times when Jews and Arabs still worked side by side in the orchards — also have their say.

Through photography and cinema, poetry, paintings, workers of the citruses’ industry and historians, memory and present mythologies, Palestinians and Israelis cross and combine.

Written and directed by Eyal Sivan. Edited by Audrey Maurion. Produced by Osnat Trabelsi and Arik Bernstein. Cinematography Rémi Lainé, Vincent Fooy, Shapir Sarusi, David Zerif. 2009. First released April 2010 at the Visions du Réel Film Festival in Switzerland. Released widely in Germany October 2010. 89 minutes (with 52 minute version for TV). Filmed in Israel, Belgium, Germany and France. In Arabic, Hebrew, English, French. Unrated.

Title in German: Jaffa – Im Namen der Orange
Title in French (TV version): Jaffa, la mécanique de l’orange

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Guide to Who’s Who in Jaffa, the Orange’s clockwork
Statement from director Eyal Sivan

Eyal Sivan Films Banner