Taglines: The war is over, but the pain never ends.
Aviya’s Summer is set in the summer of 1951, in the newly established state of Israel. The film chronicles the life of ten-year-old Aviya, whose warm, loving, and fiercely independent mother, Henya (played by Almagor herself), is tortured by periodic mental breakdowns.
Henya’s psychological and emotional scars stem from her horrid experience during the Holocaust, and from the loss of her husband during the war. Henya was once considered to be a beautiful and courageous partisan fighter, yet now she is constantly mocked by native Israelis for her erratic behavior. She walks the thin line between sanity and madness, attempting to forge a life for herself and her daughter in the new realities of Israel.
Aviya is a bright girl with a vivid imagination, yet she is mocked by her peers. Her relationship with her mother is complex, at times affectionate, but also fragile. Aviya fantasizes that if she could only find her father, all her/her mother’s problems would cease and her family would be whole again. Aviya’s wild imagination regarding her quest to find her father leads to the climax of the film.
Aviya’s Summer (Hebrew: הקיץ של אביה; translit. Ha-Kayits Shel Aviya) is a Hebrew-language book that became a bestseller. The 1985 autobiographical novel by theater actress Gila Almagor was made into a film released in 1988. The 96-minute film acts as a memoir of Almagor’s childhood and provides insights into Israeli society in the early post-state period. The film was shot on location in Kfar Avraham, Petach Tikvah, Israel.
The film has been the recipient of many Israeli prizes as well as various international awards, including the Silver Bear Award from the 39th Berlin International Film Festival, Best Foreign Film – San Remo Festival, and Best Director/Best Actress – Silver Menorah Award. The film was selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 61st Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
Aviya’s Summer – Ha-Kayitz Shel Aviya (1988)
Directed by: Eli Cohen
Starring: Gila Almagor, Kaipu Cohen, Eli Cohen, Marina Rossetti, Avital Dicker, Dina Avrech, Ya’ackov Ayali, Rami Baruch, Ariella Rabinovich
Screenplay by: Gila Almagor, Haim Bouzaglo
Cinematography by: David Gurfinkel
Film Editing by: Tova Neeman
Costume Design by: Rona Doron
Art Direction by: Yoram Shayer
Music by: Shem-Tov Levy
Distributed by: Mongrel Media
Release Date: July 15, 1988