History of Israeli Cinema - DVD set
2 DVDs come as a set that reviews the history of the development of cinema in Israel.
Hebrew with English Subtitles on PAL (EUR) format DVDs
The first DVD, entitled: 1933 - 1978, starts with the Zionist movement and ends with the first re-visitation of that history. The second DVD, entitled: 1978 - 2005, starts at the beginning of the political wave until the more recent personal cinema. However chronological, both episodes cover most of the genres, themes and periods of Israeli cinema - from the beginning of the Zionist Movement to the most personal stories - from commercial to politically engaged directors, from the local to the universal.+Ambitious two-part documentary 'A History of Israeli Cinema,' from France-born, Israel-based helmer Raphael Nadjari, offers a chronological consideration of the creation of a national cinematographic identity in a country comprised of many languages and cultures. Both fascinating and frustrating, the pic is packed with interesting clips and theories. But it's structured using a dialectical method that denies a satisfying synthesis of ideas, which will be a turnoff to some. Best suited to ancillary exploitation, it could serve as a cornerstone for broadcasters, educational institutions or Jewish fests building a season devoted to Israeli cinema and society.+Focused entirely on fiction features and the ideologies they project, Part 1 covers the period 1932-1978; and Part 2, 1978-2005. Very European in its formal structure, the pic eschews voiceover commentary, instead incorporating film extracts with talking heads (film historians, critics, producers, directors, actors) who frequently contradict each other or are cut short before an idea is fully explored. As Nadjari stresses in the press notes, he's making 'a history' rather than 'the history.' However, his thesis-antithesis method often feels repetitive. It can also be irritating, as when grand statements such as 'Gila Almagor changed the nature of Israeli cinema' are left hanging without further explanation. Moreover, the film extracts used aren't always well introduced and sometimes don't elucidate the points the speakers are making. The interviewees agree that Israeli cinema's first dominant theme was Zionism, with stories featuring pioneer heroes taking destiny into their hands. After the official declaration of nationhood in 1948, fighter protags replaced the pioneers. Shrewd producers soon came to understand that there was no singular public in this country of immigrants. Targeting the Sephardic population, the highly successful 'Sallah Shabati' provided a darkly comic critique of the Zionist ethos and served as a template for the 'bourekas comedies' of the 1960s. Existing alongside these low comedies were more artistic titles that historians group under the banner New Sensibility. Uri Zohar's 'A Hole in the Moon' is considered a touchstone of this movement. In the 1970s and '80s, the New Sensibility directors become politicized, touching on difficult subjects such as the relationship between Jews and Arabs, and the role of women in Israeli society. The documentary delivers some of its strongest moments during a segment on Oscar-winning prison pic 'Beyond the Walls,' when an extended interview with Palestinian star Mohammed Bakri is supplemented by clips from the very scenes he discusses. As it moves on toward 2005, pic touches on a national mood of nihilism ('Life According to Agfa'), works by helmers from the margins who rep a different view of Israeli society (Amos Guttmann), and religious cinema (Shuli Rand). Although it includes a few films by Israeli Arabs, prominent names such Hany Abu Assad and Elia Suleiman are not among them.+2 DVD set 208 min Director: Raphaכl Nadjari - Israel / France 2009 DocumentaryIn Hebrew+Reviewers Write:+'A HISTORY OF ISRAELI CINEMA tells the story of the building of a gaze on a society torn by ethnics, religious, and political conflicts. It attempts to understand, to denounce or to explore this complex subjects, always searching for the right ethic, the right form: to explore or transform its own definition and its place in the world.' - Written by Zadig Production+'A History of Israeli Cinema is the result of years of researches, studies, documentation, screening, interviews, some recorded, some to learn, to understand, to unfold. Actors, thinkers, producers, filmmakers, professors, critics negotiated to build a narrative that remains fragile and incomplete. It is the process rather than the result that is shared here.' - Written by Films Distribution+'Raphael Nadjari's 3-hour documentary was a big surprise to me. It revealed a hidden part of Israeli cinema, with a lot of 'moving' images predating the creation of the country in 1948, and many movies having nothing to do with the country's wars and conflicts. I came out of it with a craving for more, David Perlov's Diary for instance. Nadjari artfully managed to negotiate its way between common obstacles when it comes to Israel, I mean the self-flagellation or soothing discourses. Also I very much appreciated the comments on movie excerpts made by experienced Israeli academics: Israeli cinema has a prehistory and a history in its own right. '+'A stunning first scene reminds the viewer, if need be, that Israel wasn't born from nothing and for nothing. Nadjari's decision to include the films made before the creation of the State reflects a reality frequently hidden or denied. Then a few pioneer fictions unravel, quickly followed by a need to attain normalcy: daring erotic scenes from the 60's, personal stories, displayed with great respect and rhythm, discussed by fine intellectuals, directors and producers. We discover the whole range of Israeli cinema: war dramas of course, but also loads of popular cheap movies, musicals and, in the second part, protest films, intimate stories - the surge of historic and existential questioning from the 80's on. Raphaכl Nadjari doesn't tack his own commentary on movie excerpts, on the contrary he lends his camera and microphone to film makers or cinema scholars and skilfully weaves their account. Masterfully, if not intentionally, this documentary presents a history of the real Israel through its cinema. I loved the wonderful subtle balance between empathy for a country in the making and harsh social and political analysis. And I will run to the Tel Aviv cinema archive to see the whole films... '
- Language: Hebrew, English Subtitles
- Publisher: 2009
- Media: PAL (EUR) DVD
- Runtime: 208 Min.