A film by Eytan Ipeker
2020, 82 minutes
No. 276

The workers of the Yad Ezer Lechaver organization are busy making phone calls. They are trying to find contestants for the 2016 editionof the Miss Holocaust Survivor beauty pageant. In another room, potential contestants are interviewed by Heli Ben-David, Grace Queen in Miss Israel 1979. In order to participate, the survivors have to retell their traumatic story one more time.

Every year since 2011, a unique beauty contest takes place in Haifa. The contestants are female survivors of the Holocaust. In the midst of this flashy spectacle sponsored by an Evangelical Christian organization, the personal traumas of the survivors remain as deep as ever. A documentary about how memory, politics and spectacle are interconnected.

Official Selection, Visions du RĂ©el
Official Selection, Sarajevo Film Festival
Official Selection, Istanbul Film Festival

"The film is a well-done documentary...raising uncomfortable questions about the traumatic effects of the Holocaust on survivors, their present needs for food and housing security, as well as the politics that surround current realities. Ipeker allows the story and his point of view to unfold with careful editing and without any outside narration. I highly recommend this film for college and general adult audiences. It would enhance discussions in courses focused on the Holocaust, women studies, psychology, and aging."EMRO

"The film is a powerful reminder of the long-term effects of intergenerational trauma on cultural identity and worldview and the ways in which our histories inform our present...Survivors relive their trauma in very public and dramatic ways in order to generate funds to support their everyday expenses. The film provides the audience space to breathe but also causes our minds to frantically fill in the blanks and wonder: how can these two lived experiences exist in the same space? Highly recommend." Video Librarian

"The Pageant (...) is able to use its feature-length to raise more of the troubling psychological aspects of the event, in a non-conclusive, humbly observational manner that never presumes to condemn the choices of its subjects." -- Modern Times

"The film accuses without a word, in a very efficient and intelligent way, the radical strangeness, not to say the sweet obscenity, of its subject." -- Le Monde