SHALOM PUTTI – a long way to Jerusalem

SHALOM PUTTI – a long way to Jerusalem

Director:  Tamás Wormser
Category: Ethnology, Religion, Judaism, Uganda, Africa
Production: Artesian Films / Canada 2022
Supported by: SRC – Télévision Radio Canada, Sodec Quebec, Rogers Documentary Fund
Language: English, Luganda, Gwere, Hebrew

Subtitles: English, French
Length: 52/90 minutes

Synopsis: When a little-known Jewish community in rural Uganda comes into contact with a group of Orthodox Israeli rabbis, everyone is destined to be transformed. Director Tamás Wormser documents the extraordinary encounter over seven years, crafting a nuanced and visually arresting documentary reflection on identity, religion and the long shadow of colonialism.

Background: The people of Putti are members of Uganda’s small Jewish minority, a population of roughly 2500 who inhabit several villages in the eastern part of the country, near the town of Mbale. They refer to themselves as the Abayudaya —a Luganda term that translates as ‘Children of Judah.’

Festivals & Awards:

Director’s statement:
In 2013 I first encountered the Abayudaya, inhabitants of an isolated community in eastern Uganda. The Jews of Putti were outliers within the Diaspora and had developed an extraordinary musical tradition all their own, integrating Hebrew prayers with African musical idioms.  I would return to Putti four more times over the next seven years, observing and often participating in the daily life of the community, documenting their evolving relationship with Rabbi Riskin and his followers. The result is this film, ”Shalom Putti”.
Tamás Wormser

Movie Review:  
* « With empathy and curiosity, the film sheds light on wealth inequality, Israel’s place in the Jewish community, and the legacy of European colonialism. »
SHALOM PUTTI / Les Rendez-Vous Quebec Cinema
* « Documentary film director Tamás Wormser, originally from Hungary and resident now in Canada for over 25 years, observed and filmed a small Jewish community in Uganda for seven years…
A particularly dedicated member gets in touch with Shlomo Riskin, a rabbi well connected both in Israel and worldwide, who arrives with a whole team of workers with the aim of “converting” the Jews of Putti according to strictly orthodox rules and laws. Without directly criticising the orthodox rabbi’s approach, the film portrays a far-reaching confrontation that takes place to a backdrop of the tension between the power to define and religious practice. »
SHALOM PUTTI / JFBB.info

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