Arab airlines to screen film about the Portuguese Inquisition

The film “1618” is a project produced by the Jewish community of Porto in an effort to combat antisemitism.

The film “1618” is a project produced by the Jewish community of Porto. (photo credit: CIP/CJP)
The film “1618” is a project produced by the Jewish community of Porto.
(photo credit: CIP/CJP)

Airlines from Arab countries have purchased the rights to screen the film 1618, which depicts the Inquisition’s visit to the city of Porto, Portugal, 120 years after all the region’s Jews were forced to convert or flee to other countries.

Among the airlines that have acquired the rights and will screen the film to their passengers are Qatar Airways, Iraqi Airways, Kuwait Airways, Egyptair, Middle East Airlines (the Lebanese airline) Syrian Airlines and others.

The film 1618 is a project produced by the Jewish community of Porto.

In one of its programs to combat antisemitism, the Porto Jewish community has agreed to sell the film to airlines from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Libya and others.

A contract to screen the film on all the Arab countries’ airlines was recently signed with the Porto Jewish community, which provided funding for this project with the intention of telling the story of the Jewish community in the city.

 he film “1618” is a project produced by the Jewish community of Porto. (credit: CIP/CJP) he film “1618” is a project produced by the Jewish community of Porto. (credit: CIP/CJP)

“We are very excited about the screening agreement with the Arab airlines,” said the president of the Jewish community of Porto, Gabriel Senderowicz. “The film ‘1618’ tells an historical story in a moving and empathetic way, allowing viewers to go back 400 years for a short while and try to feel what life was like in those days, especially for the Jews of Porto who were persecuted for no fault of their own.”

“The film 1618 tells a historical story in a moving and empathetic way, allowing viewers to go back 400 years for a short while and try to feel what life was like in those days"

Gabriel Senderowicz, CJP president 

What's the movie about? 

1618 is a stirring historical film directed by Luis Ismael based on a true story: In 1618, a representative of the Portuguese Inquisition came to visit the city in northern Portugal. More than a century earlier, a brutal inquisition was active in the city that forced the Jews living there at that time to flee the country or convert to Christianity. Those who remained in Porto and converted were called the “New Christians,” but suspicions against them and their hidden customs never disappeared.

As part of that visit, the Inquisition’s representative ordered the imprisonment of more than 100 “New Christians,” a move that intimidated the city’s residents and, as a result, led to the mass flight of these “New Christians” and the almost complete destruction of the city’s economy.

The film describes in detail how those “New Christians” who were forced to convert, lived. It was filmed against the backdrop of medieval buildings in Porto similar to the original ancient buildings used by the city’s inhabitants in those days.

It outlines the dynamics of the New Christian community in the city: subordination to the Church, participation in weekly Mass ceremonies, ignorance of Jewish sources as a result of more than a century without synagogues and holy books, the almost complete absence of Jewish artifacts and prayers, and two surviving Hebrew words – “Adonai” [God] and “Goyim” [gentiles].

The film, produced by Lighthouse Films, has already won a long list of awards at various film festivals, including the Best Director and Best Historical Feature awards at the 2021 New York International Film Festival, the Best Feature Film award at the 2021 Barcelona Independent Film Festival and a slew of other awards. The film will be released in September and launched at a festive premiere event to be held in the city of Porto.