Message by Doron Galili:
Dear friends of Domitor,
I am deeply saddened to inform you that last week, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Israeli early cinema historian Joseph (Yossi) Halachmi passed away at the age of 86.
A long-time member and avid supporter of Domitor, Yossi Halachmi had a long career as director, editor, scriptwriter, and cinematographer, and for over 30 years he worked for the Israeli Educational Television. Son of film director Haim Halachmi (one of the pioneer filmmakers in pre-state Israel, who in 1932 directed Oded Hanoded, arguably the first Hebrew feature film), Yossi was also a scholar of Zionist and early Israeli cinema, and has been recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts in this area. He has published several books in Hebrew, most recently Fresh Wind: The First Zionist Film in Palestine, 1899-1902 (2007) which was published by the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive. Among his English-language articles are “Abraham Neufeld and the Beginnings of Zionist Film” (published in Film History) and “And He Is of the Seed of the Jews” (in Griffithiana) which traces the myth about Chaplin’s Jewish origins. In recent years, Halachmi operated http://www.filmography.co.il, a rich online source of historical material on early cinema that features numerous collections of primary sources on early film in various languages.
Those of us who met him over the years at Domitor events and at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto will miss a delightful, knowledgeable, and generous colleague. His writings and published collections of historical sources will surely inform studies of early Israeli cinema for many years to come.