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Top Five Passover Themed Films

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by Rachel Gray (subscribe)
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Top five Passover-themed films
It is Passover time.

The Jewish holiday runs for eight days from 22nd to the 30th of April this year, which corresponds to the 14th day of Nisan on the Jewish calendar.

(Above: Pesach. Pic drawn by Rachel Gray)

So, some businesses might be running on slightly shorter hours than usual as many local Jewish people keep with the guidelines of their faith during this time.

What is Pesach (Passover?)
Pesach is a time of remembrance for the Jewish people. They remember the time Moses led their people out of slavery from Egypt through the parted Red Sea and into what was then known as Eretz Israel, or the land of Israel today. This was also the time God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Above: Meanwhile, somewhere in the surfing bible; ...and seemingly from nowhere, much to Moses' surprise, the legends of surfing folklore suddenly appear, making the most of the rare breaking waves. Pls, no offence intended. Picture by Rachel Gray.

Rabbi Rick Jones, of the Union to Reform Judaism in North America, said the rituals of the Pesach teaches people to stand up for the rights of the marginalised, stand up for equality, and to pursue justice. "It is the master story of the Jewish people going from degradation to redemption, and it mirrors our own personal journeys," Rabbi Jones told the Religion News Service.

What is Seder?
Pesach usually kicks-off with family and friends gathered around a long table for a service called the Seder. The centrepiece of this Seder is a plate which holds a few symbolic pieces of food. Bitter herbs, a non-bitter root herb, lettuce, paste, roasted egg and a shank bone each have special meanings according to the Concise Companion for the Jewish Religion.

The placement of salt-water represents the tears of the oppressed. They also drink four glasses of wine which represents the four different forms of redemption in the Exodus narrative according to the CCJR. They eat unleavened bread called Matzo because Moses fled with his people from Egypt without enough time to rise the dough.

Here is Six13 explaining it with a bit of Uptown Funk...

This is just a brief overview of the Pesach and its significance to history and relevance to today, to help understand this holiday, here are five films…

The Ten Commandments
The American Film Institute voted The Ten Commandments as the number one Epic film ever made in the history of American cinema.

The film condenses the Book of Exodus into an epic three hours and 40-minute journey across the Middle East thousands of years ago when people wore cloth and drank from wineskins.

Released during the golden age of classic Hollywood cinema in 1956 The Ten Commandments was the great auteur Cecil B. Demille's final film before he died of heart failure three years later.

Ben Hur
Ben Hur is set around the time of Moses when the Pharaohs of Egypt had enslaved the Jews.

Similar to Demille's great classic The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur is another three hours and forty-minute epic journey set in the Middle East and based on biblical times.

Released in 1959 with a $15million plus budget, Ben Hur went on to win eleven Academy Awards.

Keep an eye-out for the chariot race, which was filmed without special-effects, using highly-trained Lipizzaner horses. The scene continues today to receive highly critical acclaim throughout the world.

A modern-version by Wanted director Timur Berkmambetov is set for release later this year.

The Devil's Arithmetic
The Devil's Arithmetic follows the story of a teenage girl (Kirsten Dunst) who does not like attending the family Seder.

As she goes to the door to let-in their prophet Elijah (a symbolic reference for the holiday) she instead steps into 1941 Poland and is later sent to a Concentration Camp.

Directed by Donna Deitch, this 1999 film is a more bearable one hour and 3 5minutes.

The Devil's Arithmetic is based on the book by Jane Yolen.

The Prince of Egypt
A good one for children (teens and adults too), by Dreamworks animation (1998) runs for one hour and 39 minutes.

The Prince of Egypt follows the early story of Moses.

Little Pesach…
Jewish people come from all over the world, here is a quick video from a little Ethiopian girl explaining the Pesach (Passover) for the very little ones.

Of the three Abrahamic faiths in Australia, only .5 percent are Jewish, 2.2 percent are Muslim, and 25.3 percent are Catholic according to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey from 2011.

Following the horrors of the Holocaust, many Jewish people settled in the inner-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, contributing to Australia in the arts, sciences, politics, law and commerce.
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