Lives In Hummus | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Lives In Hummus

Lives In Hummus

Courtesy Hummus! The Movie

"Hummus! The Movie" Dishes on Israel's Most Popular Food

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As Jalil the Ramle-based hummus restaurateur says in Hummus! The Movie, "Hummus is the beginning, it's not the main dish."

What starts as a tour of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim hummus restaurateurs becomes a profile of three peoples' entire lives, upholding family legacies, and finding meaning and continuity while moving through the ages of their lives. 

Hummus! The Movie profiles the lives and restaurants of three hummus makers, Eliyahu, a born-again Jew in northern Israel, Suheila, a Muslim woman from Acco, and Jalil, a Christian from Ramle. The movie goes beneath the surface of the protagonists' plain-spoken narratives and reveals deeper human dramas: both Suhela and Jalil were born into the hummus trade and struggle to live their own lives while maintaining the legacy of their families' eateries while Eliyahu's story is one of finding personal fulfillment and prosperity through hummus-making after a wayward and searching youth. 

There are bizarre moments and characters too. Oddball reggae singer and martial arts instructor Aluf Abir (his 90s hit song was "Hummus Makes You Stupid") has a large presence as the inspiration to Eliyahu.

Benectine Monk Brother Olivier likes to treat his fellow brothers to local hummus once a week. His monastery is based in Abu Gosh, home of the feuding hummus dynasty, Abu Shukri, whose aging patriarch is also featured. 

Every once in a while director Oren Rosenfeld cuts away to a British Guinness Book of World Records judge who seems to bounce between Israel and Lebanon, both of whom claim hummus as their own national food and wish to outdo each other, vying for the coveted world record of largest plate of hummus.

Hummus! The Movie plays at the New York Jewish Film Festival January 17 and 18.

 

 

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