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The Great Sadness of Zohara
dir. Nina Menkes / Israel, Morocco 1983 / 40’
subtitles: Polish and English


Tinka Menkes

Film description

When an orthodox Jewess hears voices from the other side, she leaves Jerusalem for a trek across the Maghreb. In her directorial debut, Nina Menkes cast her sister Tinka in the main role, where the sisters traveled the Middle East with film costumes and all equipment in tow. It produced a very personal film, about loneliness, being lost in the world, but also about spiritual experiences that cynics would brand madness and mystics would call communion with spirits. Not a single line in the film offers a roadmap for how to navigate this study in depression save for a fragment from the Book of Job.

Prepared by: Ewa Szabłowska

Information about director

Nina Menkes

Nina Menkes is an avant-garde American filmmaker who graduated with a degree in film from the University of California w Los Angeles. She has lectured at University of Southern California, California Institute of the Arts, Tel Aviv University and the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. Her oeuvre includes eight films that she wrote, directed, and produced and, for many years, her sister Tinka Menkes, was her leading actress, muse and closest associate. Menkes’s films have screened at festivals in Berlin, Sundance, Rotterdam, Locarno as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Selected filmography

1983 Wielki smutek Zohary / The Great Sadness of Zohara (doc.)

1987 Magdalena Viraga

1991 Queen of Diamonds

1996 The Bloody Child

2005 Massaker (co-dir., doc.)

2007 Phantom Love

2010 Dissolution

Prepared by: Ewa Szabłowska


director: Nina Menkes
screenplay: Nina Menkes
cinematography: Nina Menkes
editing: Nina Menkes, Tinka Menkes
music: Nina Menkes, Stephen Beck, Duane Dell’Amico
cast: Tinka Menkes
producer: Nina Menkes
sales: LUX
language: no dialogues
colouration: colour
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