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Masada – HerStory 2018, 2018

Masada – HerStory 11:11′

Filmed in the Judean Desert amongst the ruins of Masada, five women pay homage, each in her own special way, to two courageous forgotten women.

One of the women reads aloud to her young son their story as recounted by the historian Josephus Flavius in a book in english translated from the original greek published in London in 1737.

Whereas the Israeli narrative has always favored the notorious collective suicide ordered by the leader of the rebels, Eleazar Ben Yair, I was inspired instead by the forgotten rebellion of two women who defied their commander Eleazar Ben Yair and went into hiding with 5 little children as narrated by Flavius in the chapter on Masada, the last stronghold of the Jewish Rebels, three years after Jerusalem and Judea surrendered to the Romans in 70 CE.

“An old woman escaped, along with another who was related to Eleazar, in intelligence and education superior to most women, and five little children” writes Flavius. “They had hidden in the conduits that brought drinking-water underground while the rest were intent upon the suicide-pact …Seeing no enemy, but dreadful solitude on every side, fire within, and silence, they were at a loss to guess what had happened…the noise came to the ears of the women, who emerged from the conduits and gave the Romans a detailed account of what had happened, the second of them providing a lucid report of Eleazar’s speech and the action that had followed.” Josephus Flavius, Of the Jewish War, Book VII, Chap VIII, 75 CE.

At sunset, Masada wrap herself again in a cloak of mystery.

“Here stand mountains round about, congealed and silent. They are eternal witnesses, ever intelligent, seeing everything always, hearing everything always, and knowing how vain the toil of the climbers has always been.”  (Yitzhak Lamdan, Masada: A Historical Epic 1927).


Cast:  Hagar Dagan (flutiste), Maya Yogel (dancer), Yaeli Tai (singer), Alexandra Lavastine (mummy), Sigal and Avner Weissbein (mother and son).

Editor: Ora Maimon Pilewski, Cinematographer: Talia (Tulik) Galon, Aerial Photographer: Aviv Kegen, Camera assistant: Lior Mamon, Photographer: Gal Mosenson, Original score and lyrics: Hagar Dagan and Yaeli Tai, Sound design and music: Marcello Pilewski, Location sound recordist: Ishai Ilan, Costumes designer: Lera Lemberg, Hebrew Narrator: Sigal Weissbein, Makeup artist: Idit Ayala Alajem, Colorist: Yair Nahson, Visual Effects: Omri Grossman, Studio: Bootke Color Studio

Location: Masada, A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Judean Desert

Map of Masada by Dom Augustin Antoine Calmet, France, 1672-1757, After Jean Doubdan, Siege et Prise de Massada par les Romains, Etching. Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Elie Posner



Ariane Littman