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Valley Of Strength (2010)

Gei Oni (original title)
A love story between Fania, a young Russian immigrant and Yechiel, a native Jew, interweaves with the story of the first wave of European migration to Palestine at the end of the 19th ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Tamar Alkan
Zion Ashkenazi
(as Jacob Bodo)
Yavuz Hekim
Shlomit Mandel ...
Leah Rokach
Anabela Yaakov ...
(as Anabela)
Eric Yitzhakov
(as Rotem Zisman)


A love story between Fania, a young Russian immigrant and Yechiel, a native Jew, interweaves with the story of the first wave of European migration to Palestine at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the realization of the Zionist dream. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | History



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13 July 2012 (USA)  »

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Valley Of Strength  »

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Edited from Gei Oni (2011) See more »

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A somber film about a difficult time
26 July 2011 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

The Israeli film Gei Oni (Valley of Fortitude) (2010) was written and directed by Dan Wolman. It takes place at the end of the 19th Century, when European Jews were emigrating to Palestine and establishing homesteads. It's clear that this period in Israeli history corresponds to our Wild West, with the inhabitants of the land-- Bedouins--seen as its rightful owners or as hostile natives, depending on your point of view.

At any rate, the Jews, who had to negotiate with the Turkish rulers of Palestine, as well as the Bedouins, hardly found the land they purchased to be the fabled land of milk and honey. In fact, it's portrayed as a terribly dry, rocky, wasteland.

A young Russian immigrant--played by the beautiful Tamar Alkan-- arrives in Palestine with her elderly uncle, her young baby, and her developmentally delayed brother. She is clearly a highly refined and educated woman, but these qualities are not of much value in Palestine. She contracts a marriage of convenience with a Jewish farmer, who takes her, her child, and her brother to his homestead. He is a widower with two young children and they need a mother. He needs a wife, although his new wife is not prepared to welcome him into her bed.

The plot begins there, and the remainder of the film is filled with loss, heartbreak, brutally hard work, and great sorrow. This isn't a movie where the settlers get the crops in and then all gather for a barn dance. Their poverty is palpable, and they are often hungry, sick, and frightened. Still, they persevere.

I recommend this film. Just don't approach it expecting Little House on the Prairie. Expect rather a film of power and strong emotions.

Try to see it on a large screen, because the stark beauty of the desert will be partially lost on DVD. However, see it in any way you can. You won't readily forget it.

This movie was shown at the excellent Rochester Jewish Film Festival, and screened at the wonderful Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House. It was chosen as the Best Picture at the 2010 Jerusalem Film Festival.

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