She lived in Cairo, Paris, and New York, but died in an old-age home in Givatayim, Israel. She was charismatic and admired, but only a few people actually knew her well during her life. She was the first to write of Levantine and Mizrachi identities, Director Rafael Balulu goes on a journey in the footsteps of “Levantine thinker” and author, and through encounters with her friends in Paris, with intellectuals in the Mizrachi discourse, and with Levantine artists, he not only draws a portrait of this impressive thinker and writer, but also chronicles the trajectory of Levantine identity in Israel as a cultural option.
Director: Rafael Balulu. Producer: Yair Qedar. Music: Amit Hai Cohen. Cinematography: David Adika. Editing: Yoav Gershon. Sound: Aviv Aldema. Design: Noa Haber. Research: Hagit Ben-Ya’akov. Supporters: The Israel Film Service, the New Fund for TV and Cinema. Official selection Docaviv festival 2019. ISRAEL 2019, 48 minutes. Hebrew and French. Subtitles: Hebrew, English, Greek.
Kahanoff’s presence was long forgotten, like much of her writing. She attempted to present to the Hebrew reader a cosmopolitan literature from the Middle East, Africa and the Far East when Israel was dominated by the melting pot ideology of Hebrew [language and culture], which began to build and fortify its walls after the establishment of the state and the great aliyah. Indeed, foreign, non-Jewish culture from Africa, the Far East or Arab countries was perceived as threatening the integrity of the national culture that was being built. David Gadge, Haaretz
Kahanoff, born in Cairo in 1917, studied in France and the United States, and eventually settled in Israel in the 1950s. Her notes on young Israel, first published in the journal “Keshet” and later collected in the classic book “Mizrah Shemesh” (edited by Aharon Amir) are far-reaching and touch on the sizzling core of the challenges facing Israel today, published by Gamma.