Saldei Stalin (1988)

Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - Israel   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Clarke Fountain

Decades before Israel was created, dedicated Jewish men and women gathered in Palestine as part of the kibbutz movement. With a variety of ideologies, most of them based on some form of Marxism, kibbutzim (kibbutz-dwellers) almost universally practiced a form of consensual communitarianism: all property was held in common, all tasks and roles were shared (where possible) in rotation, and almost all decisions were based on a vote among kibbutz members. Since this was before the various women's equality movements and so on, these ideas (which did not allow for gender-based distinctions) were pretty radical. Some kibbutzes encouraged religious practice, others were strictly for atheist Jews. In this drama, a group of true-believers in the communist ideal who are also kibbutzim have their faith shaken when Stalin's pact with the Nazis comes to light. Some of the same kibbutzim have a new difficulty when, after the war, they must confront the West German Compensations Agreement. Through that agreement, they are being offered what are (to them) huge sums of money in recompense for the Holocaust. Now they must decide whether to keep the money (and leave the kibbutz) or share it with all the others, as they have done with all outside earnings in the past.