Les Deniers Marranes (Os últimos Marranos) by Frédéric Brenner and Stan Neumann.

Les derniers Marranes .France, 1991, 64 minutes, in Portuguese with English subtitles, Directed by Frédéric Brenner and Stan Neumann. “Generation by generation, the Marranos’ closed-door ceremonies became the oral tradition of women rather than men (in opposition to Hebrew custom), with ceremonial rituals handed down from mother to daughter. There is no persecution any more, but, as the film shows, there is still an aura of secrecy about the movement.” In the late fifteenth century, the glory of Sephardic Jewry on the Iberian peninsula came to an end: In 1492, the Jews of Spain were expelled. In 1497, the Jews of Portugal were forcibly converted to Christianity. Now they were subject to the Inquisition’s harsh punishment for heresy. Despite the danger, however, many of the converted Jews—called marranos “pigs” by Christians—continued to practice Judaism in secret. Five centuries later, The Last Marranos takes a fascinating look at the village of Belmonte, Portugal. Its rites and prayers are an amalgam of Christianity and vestiges of Judaism tenaciously preserved through the ages. These traditions bear the scars of history distorted by clandestine practice and couched in symbols of fear. Now, brought into the open and reacquainting itself with mainstream Judaism, the community faces a new challenge.

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