WORLD PREMIERE European Independent Film Festival, Paris (2007)
U.S. PREMIERE Tribeca Film Festival (2007)
Jerusalem Film Festival (2007)
CRIF Centre d'Art and Culture, Paris (2007)
Sao Paulo International Film Festival (2007)
Washington Jewish Film Festival (2007)
92nd St. Y, New York (2007)
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (2007)
Virginia Jewish Film Festival (2007)
Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, New York (2008)
Farthest North Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Seattle Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Detroit Jewish Film Festival (2008)
NCJF Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Broward County Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Jewish Motifs International Film Festival (2009)
The Jewish Eye World Film Festival (2009)
Free Thinking Festival, Ottawa (2011)
New York Sephardic Film Festival (2012)
IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy (2013)
Goethe Institut - Porto Alegre, Brazil (2014)
The Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region (2015)
Sundance Channel (2007)
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The Last Jews of Libya documents the final decades of a centuries-old North African Sephardic Jewish community through the lives of the remarkable Roumani family, who lived in Benghazi, Libya, for hundreds of years. Thirty-six thousand Jews lived in Libya at the end of World War II, today none remain.
The film traces the story of the Roumanis from Turkish Ottoman rule through the age of Mussolini and Hitler to the final destruction and dispersal of Libya's Jews in the face of Arab nationalism.
The Last Jews of Libya is the story of an ancient and unique Jewish community transformed by modern European culture and by its relations with Arabs all the while retaining its own religious traditions, and of a family ultimately saved through the strength of its Jewish tradition and faith.
Based on the recently discovered memoirs of the family's matriarch, Elise Roumani, as well as interviews in English, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic with several generations of the Roumani family and a trove of rare archival film and photographs, it is an unforgettable tale.
"Anyone who’s ever wondered about their family history especially when that history involved fleeing from persecution will find The Last Jews of Libya fascinating and moving."
"Roumani-Denn tells this story as experienced by her mother (with Isabella Rossellini giving effective voice to her diaries and letters). Because the focus of The Last Jews of Libya is entirely on the Roumanis and the Tamams (her mother’s family), the film is something more than another superficial historical documentary. Instead, viewers are given concrete examples of the workings of history on individuals, and history has an appealing and entirely human face."
- George Robinson, The Jewish Week
"Libya was once a nation with a large and thriving Jewish community; today, only a tiny number of Jews remain there, and this documentary from filmmaker Vivienne Roumani-Denn (herself a Libyan Jew) explains the tragic legacy of the nation's Jewish community."
-Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
"Based on the memoirs of Vivienne's mother, Elise Roumani, that were discovered after her death and enhanced by archival footage and interviews, we see 20th century history through the prism of a proud Jewish community that had prospered in a Moslem country for centuries."
-Judy Lash Balint, Blogcritics.org
Wall Street Journal: "When the Arab Jews Fled" (10/18/2012)
Libya, A Historical Timeline (PDF)
Listen to NPR Feature: "Jewish Tradition Lost in Libya" (11/27/2007)
The New York Sun: "A Jewish Home Away From Home" (11/30/07)
Jewish Journal: "Family's Tale Recounts Libyan Jewish Dispersion" (11/30/07)
Jewish Journal, November 30, 2007
Home Use DVD:
Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information
Classroom/Library Use DVD: $195
Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information
Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us
Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us
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The Last Jews of Libya
USA, 2007, 50 minutes, Color
English, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic with English subtitles
Directed by Vivienne Roumani-Denn
Narrated by Isabella Rossellini
Hebrew subtitled version also available.
Public Exhibition formats: Beta, DVD