Film: 8962

History | 1960 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

A dramatised documentary seemingly set in the winding back streets of Palestine. Typical workers from this historical era are shown including ; a farmer, a potter, a carpenter and some roofers.

Title sequence: "Two Thousand Years Ago : A Reconstruction of Life in Palestine in the Time of Christ…..The Day's Work".

Opens "two thousand years ago" with aerial views of contemporary Palestine. Dramatisation begins with a Palestinian leaving his house with a donkey. He loads the animal with bags and moves off through winding stone backstreets. Unloading the donkey, the man sits down on a small bench. He is a carpenter we are told. He takes off his outer garment and begins to work on apiece of wood with a mallet. The donkey observes.

A farmer arrives wanting to buy a yoke. The carpenter shows him two. He then points out the sign above his door advertising his excellence as a maker of yokes.

The carpenter and his boy carry wooden frames through narrow streets and arrive at the house of a friend. Two roofers perched upon the house use cool mud spread over brushwood to construct a roof for the house. The boy's foot accidentally slips through the roof but he is rescued.

Another workman this time skilfully laying cylindrical tiles using a mortar-like paste. A potter at his wheel slices through a chunk of clay. Close up of his hands turning a pot and of his foot on the wheel. He finishes the pot and puts it alongside the others made today. Tending his oven fire with a stick he then lifts the pots carefully into the huge stone oven. A customer enters the shop and claps his hands for attention. The two men examine various pots, haggling over the price until money is produced from a purse. A person works at a loom in the background as the potter sits again at his wheel. Children watch the potter at work. The carpenter stops by for a chat.

Waiting for her father on his way home. The carpenter's daughter is allowed a short ride on her father's donkey while the family stand around. She is lifted to the ground. She jumps down from stone steps and runs inside the house. These people are Jews we are told. The girl helps her family to wash before the meal. They sit on the ground cross-legged. The females look on as the man and boy eat first.

The narrator explains the delicate custom of eating bread dunked in olive oil as practiced by this typical Jewish family. Father pours a drink from an animal skin bottle. The woman and girls now join the dinner party. The mother instructs the youngest girl on "how to use the bread as a spoon".

The eldest daughter takes a candle and walks through the house lighting oil lamps. Charcoal fire. The family gathers around. Father reads from Jewish sacred literature.

Ends with a scene by day with family being instructed - today as everyday - in the Talmud and the words of the prophets.


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