OSCAR Nominee 1965 - Best Foreign Language Film
Won 1965 Golden Globe - Best Foreign Language Film
Won 1964 Golden Gate Award - San Francisco International Film Festival - Best Actor: Topol, Best Screenplay: Ephraim Kishon
A Yemenite Jewish family that was flown to Israel during 'Operation Magic Carpet' - a clandestine operation that flew 49,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel the year after the state was formed - is forced to move to a government settlement camp. The patriarch of the family [Topol] tries to make money and get better housing, in a country that can barely provide for its own and is in the midst absorbing hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Humor, sensitivity, politics and music highlight this capsule of history.
1964 Israel Comedy Starring: Chaim Topol, Gila Almagor, Arik Einstein
About Efraim Kishon
Kishon, one of Israel's most prolific writers, was born Ferenc Kishont in Budapest. In World War II he was captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in concentration camps. In one camp, a German officer lined up Jewish inmates and shot dead every tenth person, passing him by. Later en route to the Sobibor death camp, Kishon managed to escape the Nazis.
In the 1960s, the satirist began working in film, writing and directing, including the famed 'Salah Shabati.' Shabati, the newly-arrived immigrant from an Arab country, whose common-sense exposes the hypocrisy of the European Jewry establishment, still offers a fascinating outlook on a young Israel unable to come to grips with its own multiculturalism.
Another film by Kishon, 'Police Officer Azulai' starring Shaike Offir, won the Golden Globe award and also won an Oscar nomination in 1971. The eve of the Six Day War in 1967 marked the peak of Kishon's popularity in Israel, as he captured with sensitivity and humor the day-to-day atmosphere of Israel under siege. He did this from the perspective of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, who was amazed and beguiled to realize that his country had managed to withstand the Arab threat to destroy him again and again.
Kishon was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in 2002 for his unique contribution to society and the country. The judges panel described Kishon as 'a beam of light rescued from the fire of the Holocaust, who scaled the heights of satire in the world.' They also praised Kishon's work for reflecting Israeli society and effectively rendering the socioeconomic distress, unemployment, poverty and harsh living conditions of immigrants in the state's formative years.
Kishon's contribution to projecting a positive image of Israel to the world did not escape the judges' attention as they commented: 'His prolific, keen-eyed body of work... draws his many readers abroad closer to Israel.'