Daniel Najenson’s personal and trenchant documentary The Impure investigates the institutionalization of Jewish prostitution in Argentina in the early 20th century. During the wave of Eastern European Jewish emigration, thousands of Jewish women were lured with promises of wealth to Argentinian brothels. The prostitutes and their pimps—in some cases the husbands of the prostitutes—were also newly emigrated Jewish men, who quickly developed an expansive, flourishing underworld in Buenos Aires. They were seen as “the impure,” provoking the shame of the Argentinian Jewish community. But, as Najenson illustrates by digging up revelations of his own family’s history, “the impure” were inextricably woven into the social and political fabric of Argentinian-Jewish life.
New York: Jan. 16 at Walter Reade.