Since 1999, Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish feature films have been produced by ultra- Orthodox Jewish filmmakers for ultra-Orthodox Jewish viewers. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women's films are restricted to female viewers and portray women only. These films are mostly melodramas and are screened at banqueting halls in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods on Jewish holidays. This study examines two main questions: a) How do ultra-Orthodox Jews filmmakers deal with religious restrictions and constraints in combining the cinematic medium with religious stories and ideas, including commercial and entertainment aspects? b) What is the nature of the audience's reception of these films? In order to answer these questions, ethnographic research was conducted in the course of 2010-2013 regarding ultra-Orthodox Jewish film production and distribution sites. Interviews were conducted with film producers, revealing the mechanisms employed by them to produce "kosher" women's films. Women who were frequent consumers of these films were also interviewed in order to determine and interpret audience responses. Semiotic analysis was performed on posters advertising the films in the course of 2011-2013. Findings disclose the apparatus by which producers focus on viewers' emotional experiences using religion as an exciting commercial product. An attempt is made to design an active cinematic viewing experience for participants (although it collides with the rules of modesty and self-control that ultra-Orthodox women are required to uphold). In order to achieve emotional arousal, the producers employ various cinematic strategies during the distribution and production processes: assisted by kitschy images, they use enigmatic visual and verbal rhetoric in film posters, inviting viewers to participate in an emotional experience. In the production process, "film excess" is used both thematically and aesthetically. Those who respond in what may be perceived as an exaggerated emotional manner are mainly younger viewers, who are encouraged in this behavior by older ones. These screenings may be regarded as a unique female ritual with a carnival atmosphere that provides a space for unleashing emotions, thus strengthening viewers' religious beliefs.
|Title of host publication||The Emotions Industry|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||22|
|State||Published - 1 Jul 2014|
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