[Ima Yalda]

Director: Yael Kipper & Ronen Zaretzky (”Super Women”, ”Portrait”, ”These Woods”) / Israel 2016

Category: Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Society

Production: Yael Kipper & Ronen Zaretzky: Turtles Films; for Channel 8 (Hot Cable Communication), Commissioning Editor: Rinat Klein; The Makor Foundation for Israeli Films and the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund, Israel

Language: Hebrew, Moroccan and Yemeni Arabic.

Subtitles: English

Length: 90 minutes

Conversations between mothers and their families reveal haunting histories of women forced into marriage as young children. Born into Jewish communities in Morocco and Yemen where child marriage was a culturally sanctioned custom, these women’s voices were largely unheard. When they were only five or six or ten years old, their parents snatched them from the playground and handed them to much older menת to be married. They recall the violence and fear they were subjected to, the pregnancies at the age of eleven or twelve, becoming mothers when they were still little girls themselves.
It was an open secret but one they put aside forever, because revealing it might tear their family apart, causing commotion and creating chaos. The memories of their tragic childhood never healed – they were simply suppressed for the sake of their children, their livelihoods, and their husbands. No more.

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Movie Reviews:
* « Child Mother, featured at this year’s Human Rights Watch film festival in London, is a heart-wrenching rendition of stories of the lives of mothers. This powerful documentary, tells of five mothers recalling their life stories to their children for the first time. » Film Nights for Human Rights: Child Mother / Shireen Hilmi / The Platform

* « Child Mother is a stunning 90-minute documentary by Yael Kipper and Ronen Zaretzky that explores the sad loss of innocence and youth. An excellent addition to the Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2017, Child Mother provides a powerful voice on important issues regarding women.» Review: Child Mother (2016): Lyn-Kateri Visedsuk / Filmdo

* « Through powerful testimonies that touch on child birth, sexual violence, or depression, “Child Mother” exposes an aspect of child marriage that is rarely discussed: the impact on the family as a whole, an open wound passed on to the next generation.» ''Mothers and daughters in conversation about child marriage at Human Rights Watch film festival'' / Girls Not Brides 

* « With great empathy and stoicism the filmmakers manage to open an intimate space in which, of course, there is also dancing, joking and singing.»
Nadja Rademacher / DOK Leipzig

* «This documentary affirms the therapeutic role of confession, art and film in particular. The narration of the documentary is based on long-takes of interiors and close- ups of women thanks to which the viewer is invited to enter their inner worlds and to participate in the therapy consisting of words and images. This is a great example of moral imagination that can be offered by aesthetically sophisticated narratives.» ***Child Mother (Ima Yalda)***/Joanna Bocheńska, Jagiellonian University/ACME Journal

* « These women, now in their 80s or older, courageously reveal the story of a childhood brutally ended... The film addresses this taboo subject with intelligence and sensitivity, giving voice to women whose voices were silenced for so long. The vitality, honesty and courage of these women in their willingness to tell their story is inspiring.» ''Child Mother'' / Ayelet Dekel / Midnight East 

* « ''Child Mother'' is a compelling documentary film made in a minimalist style, which tells an extraordinary story.  This is a film about Israeli women, today in their 80s, who were married off at very young ages.» ''Child Brides'' / Amy Kronish / IsraelFilm.blogspot

* « ''Child Mother'' exposes the horrific practice of marrying off very young girls in North Africa » ''Sephardic Film Festival gets real as forced brides open up in ‘Child Mother’ / Naomi Pfefferman / Jewish Journal

* « The design of ''Child Mother'' as a collection of internal inquiries in the family creates sensitivity and intimacy, and illustrates the intergenerational effects of trauma suffered by these women.» Einav Schiff / Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper

* « Women who lived a crime against humanity ... there is no beauty or nostalgia in the story told by Kipper and Zaretsky, and they do not try to claim otherwise or soften the horror depicted in the film.» Shany Littman / Haaretz daily newspaper

* « Kipper and Zaretsky chose to handle one of the unspoken taboos in the Israeli society. "Child Mother" reveals without soft-focus filters the sales process (and forced marriage of those little girls) and its depressing consequences. "Child Mother" leaves a bitter taste and a throat choked with tears.» Shir Ziv, Israel Hayom daily newspaper

Festivals & Awards:

Doc Aviv/Israeli Competition Special Jury Mention
Jury's justification: "The film "Child Mother" delicately reveals the harsh story of women who, as young girls, were given to much older men and enslaved by them, in the name of tradition. The filmmakers, Yael Kipper and Ronen Zaretzky, succeed in portraying a complex, complicated and important story – through multiple layers of concealment, denial and shame. A story that echoes and has existed from ancient times to our own days."

Doc Aviv/Best Cinematography Award (Ronen Zaretzky)
Jury's justification: "For its unique understanding and proven ability of presenting the story trough stoic scenes. The winner displayed amazing use of available light, poetic composition, allowing the protagonists and their environment to possess the full frame and lead the film"