House on Chelouche Street (1973): Israel Oscar Nominee

The House on Chelouche Street is a 1973 semi-autobiographical film by Israeli director Moshé Mizrahi, filmed in Hebrew, Egyptian Arabic, and Ladino.

The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

The film tells the story of a Sephardi family of Egyptian Jewish immigrants from Alexandria that settle in 1947 Tel Aviv.

The family consists of a 33-year-old widowed wife, Clara, (played by Gila Almagor, one of Israel’s most prominent actresses) and her four children.

They live in a working-class neighborhood surrounded by their extended family, including Clara’s mother Mazal, Clara’s uncle Rafael, and Sultana, his wife.

The plot centers on firstborn Sami, his transition from a shy 15-year-old to a working man and an activist in the “Irgun” (a resistance movement against the military forces of the British), and the romantic attachment he develops with a 25-year-old Russian immigrant librarian (Michal Bat-Adam).

Clara struggles between social pressure to take a husband and her own complex feelings toward another Sephardi Egyptian, played by Yosef Shiloach.

The movie is a vivid and very credible description of the lives of Sephardi immigrant families on the eve of the declaration of the state of Israel, as well as the escalating violence between British forces and the local populace, as well as Palestinian Arab violence towards Jews.

Gila Almagor as Clara
Ofer Shalhin as Sami
Michal Bat-Adam as Sonia
Yosef Shiloach as Nissim
Rolf Brin as Grossman

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Foreign Language Film: Edith Head

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner was Truffaut’s French comedy, Day for Night.