Project Description


Directed by Emanuela Giordano
2015, Italy/France
54′-68’, Color, HD

“The Venice Ghetto, 500 years of life” reconstructs the history of the oldest ghetto of Europe, thanks to the memories and to the testimonies of “excellent” witnesses, custodians of the memory and of the complex evolution of the Jewish community in Venice. Each one will focus a theme such as the origins, the relationship between the Jews and the Government of the Serenissima, between Jews of different languages and cultures, the great figures in the history of the ghetto, the permitted trades, the money, the cabala, the food, the Jewish-Venetian language, the persecutions and integration. We will tell of the daily life, and some moments of identity: a Bar Mitzvah, and a funeral. We will discover the synagogues hidden behind the facades, seemingly anonymous, the ancient Jewish cemetery, and many other places strongly evocative of an ancient and polymorphic culture.
The narrative track will follow the path of discovery of Lorenzo, a teenage Jewish boy from New York. Lorenzo is sent to Venice to learn about the origins of his mother’s family, closely related to the origins of life in the ghetto. Lorenzo will face this journey of discovery in the company of an Aunt and two young Venetian cousins who offer him the stimulus to enter more and more into a world unknown to him.
The initial emotional displacement of the boy makes way for an always growing curiosity. This experience will offer Lorenzo a unique starting point to reflect and mature, his eyes will become gradually more attentive, more perceptive, more inquisitive, without ever losing the freshness and the natural sympathy of his age. Accustomed to a city in continual evolution, which leaves no strong traces of time behind it, Lorenzo remains fascinated by the stratification of the memories and the stories which unfold, and change from an alleyway to a field, to one synagogue to another. Stories which, sometimes take form, like revelations evoked by his imagination, thanks to a historical reconstruction realized in animation. All the characters, witnesses, people who have been met, will meet again in the final scene, in the Campo of the Ghetto, reading aloud the names of those who did not come back from the extermination camps. Lorenzo too is amongst them, participant in a experience which will be remembered forever.

Direction: Emanuela Giordano
With: Sandra Toffolatti, Laurence Olivieri
Story: Alessandra Bonavina
Treatment: Emanuela Giordano, Alessandra Bonavina
Script Editor: Isabella Aguilar
Original Music: Gilles Alonzo
Cinematographer: Alberto Marchiori
Editor: Sara Zavarise
Illustration: Felicita Sala, Gianluca Maruotti
Animation: Mathieu Rolin, Estelle Chaloupy, Marion Chopin
Costume: Cristina Da Rold
Set designer: Mirko Donati
Sound: Marco Zambrano
Production Manager: Giulia Campagna
Executive Producer: Carolina Levi
Produced by: Roberto Levi, Ilann Girard, Yannis Metzinger
Production companies: TANGRAM FILM SRL, in coproduction with ARSAM INTERNATIONAL and CERIGO FILMS
Italian Home Video Sales: Cinecittà Istituto Luce
International Distribution: JMT Films Distribution

Interviews: Amos Luzzatto, Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, Riccardo Calimani, Donatella Calabi, Aldo Izzo, Tobia Ravà, Simon Levis Sullam.

“The Venice Ghetto, 500 Years of Life” is realized in collaboration with Rai Cinema; the film is recognised of Cultural Interest with contribution from Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo – Direzione Generale per il Cinema; it is realized with the contribution of Assicurazioni Generali, in collaboration with Regione Veneto, Venice Film Commission, Comitato dei 500 Anni del Ghetto di Venezia, with the patronage of Città di Venezia – Assessorato alla Attività Culturali, with the support of Centre National du Cinema Et de L’Image Animee, Region Alsace, Communaute Urbaine de Strasbourg, in collaboration with Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah and with the contribution of AB Thématiques Pour Tout L’Histoire.
Film realized with the contribution of Regione Lazio – Fondo regionale per il cinema e l’audiovisivo.

Donald M Ephraim Palm Beach JFF 2017
Congregation Beth Shalom 2017
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia 2016
UK Limmud Conference 2016
Rodfei Sholom Congregation (San Antonio, Texas) 2016
Los Angeles Sephardic Film Festival 2016
Central Synagogue of London 2016
St Louis Jewish Film Festival 2016
Cumming Centre (Montreal) 2016
Jewish Art and Life wing at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem – Selected for their collection
Harvard University library, Judaica Division – Selected for their collection
Yad Vashem Visual center (Israel) – Selected for their collection
Uk Jewish film Festival 2016
Bucharest Jewish Film Festival 2016 – In competition
The National Center for Jewish Film’s 19th Annual Film Festival (Boston) 2016
Toronto Jewish Film Festival 2016
Rassegna Nuovo Cinema Israeliano (Milan) 2016
Rassegna Cinematografica “In Ghetto, oltre il Ghetto” (Venice) 2016
Geneva International Jewish Film Festival 2016 – In competition
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2016 – In competition
Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival 2015 – In competition
Uk Jewish Film Festival 2015 – Selected Project
Premiere September 6th 2015 in agreement with Giornate degli Autori/Venice Days and on occasion of The European Days of Jewish Culture
IDFAcademy 2013 – Selected Project
Italian Docs Screening 2012 – Selected Project