The celluloid hurdles: Israeli women film directors in the prism of gender and time

Shlomit Aharoni Lir, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This qualitative study explores the role of personal and historical time in the power dynamics that women encounter in the Israeli film industry. Based on a close thematic analysis of 26 interviews with women film directors in the film "In the Director's Chair Sits a Woman" (2020), the findings suggest that women in the Israeli film industry continue to face unique obstacles that prolong or block their professional advancement. The study proposes four metaphors that capture specific axes that intersect time, cinema and gender. Firstly, "uncertain time" refers to the loss of precious time that women in cinema experience due to gendered stereotypes about women's ability to direct. Secondly, "the time loop" denotes having to face stereotypical gendered norms and recurrent instances where women directors are forced to reshoot scenes due to male obstinacy on the set. Thirdly, the "sliding doors" metaphor captures how women are forced to choose between two life trajectories, focused either on childbearing or on filmmaking. Lastly, "time standing still" addresses setbacks related to women's experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault as part of their work in the film industry. In addition, we chose the metaphor "gendered historical time" to indicate the significant change that is gradually taking place in the film industry, in everything related to gender equality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Age/Aging in Popular Culture
Subtitle of host publicationRepresentations in Film, Music, Literature, and Social Media
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783839462423
ISBN (Print)9783837662429
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Nicole Haring, Roberta Maierhofer, Barbara Ratzenböck. All rights reserved.


  • Celluloid ceiling
  • Feminism
  • Gender equality
  • Israeli women in cinema
  • Power relations
  • Women and time


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