Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spain: 'The Stigma?' - a movie on Spanish antisemitism

Via AlterVideo:
The Stigma? is a documentary by Martí Sans that explores and reflects on the genesis and sticking with the anti-Jewish prejudice in the current Spain and it has the participation of fifteen experts. This project has involved three years of work, including a year and half research.

Martí Sans, who made the film, admits at the outset that he “inherited the prejudices of my family,” and decides to record “the process of deconstructing my anti-Semitism.” That statement would suggest a very different, more personal kind of film, a film that one hopes he will make some day. But what he has done is examine the dark history of Spanish and Catalan attitudes towards the Jews, keeping in the forefront the reality that for nearly a half-millennium Spain had no Jews at all. Indeed, as one of the several intellectuals interviewed for the film notes, until very recently it was illegal for a Jew to set foot on Spanish soil. 
The result is an eerie kind of anti-Semitism, one that is, as Sans observes, “based more on ideology than experience.” It is as if Spain underwent a 500-year-long version of the “anti-Semitism without Jews” that distinguishes the Polish experience in the 1950s and ’60s. And the result is an appalling combination of ignorance and superstition dominating the popular imagination, one that Sans documents deftly with a series of street interviews of ordinary residents of Barcelona. Despite what one might expect, “The Stigma?” is a thoughtful and well-crafted film that puts a new spin on supposedly familiar history and ideology.

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