Off camera, 18 or so people, born in the mid-1930s, talk about being children born and raised on kibbutzim. They were to become "the new man:" equals, strong of body and spirit, communal with little personal ownership and a keen group consciousness. They tell their stories chronologically in four chapters: "separation" -- their early years living and sleeping apart from their parents, "group" -- pre-teen life as extended family, "elite" -- becoming young adults, and "a second life" -- adults looking back. Home movies and newsreels from the time fill the screen as they talk. Some remained to have children there. What is their assessment now? How are success and failure balanced? Written by
If I could make such warm, heartfelt, deeply personal - for them - present for my parents as the director of Children of the Sun - himself a "Kibbutz child" - dedicated to his parents, I would be a very happy man, and they would be very lucky parents. Using only archive footage from 1930s to 1970s Kibbutzim with the commentary of aged first-generation kibbutzniks, with a particular focus on communal and practically devoid of parents interaction child rearing, this documentary can be a great eye-opener to people like me - who thought they had some idea of what Kibbutzim were like. In fact those early, particularly ideologically-charged, utopian Kibbutzim were very, very different from their modern remains - in fact, at times the feeling of watching Hitlerjunge or especially Young Pioneers is unnervingly real. But one of the film's great strengths is not trying to serve as an illustration for a Wikipedia article on Kibbutzim, but focusing on the emotional aspects of growing up there as children - and through that alone tells more than enough about the ideology, the promise, the ultimate fading of those ideas. Overall, an interesting and enjoyable documentary.
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