"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Dreams of Youth

How do our priorities evolve and change over time? How do the paths that our lives take influence who we are and what is important to us? Are we forced to make compromises and adapt to new situations? Good Morning Israel (2007), directed by Amir Har-Gil, is a documentary film that provides insight into these issues.

Back in 1987, filmmaker Amir Har-Gil made a short film about five youths from different sectors of Israeli society. He asked them questions about their values and about their dreams. Ten years later, he returned to see what happened to each one. Twenty years later, he takes another look. In this, the third film, he also takes a look at himself and the priorities within his own life.

Har-Gil is now married with children. He is contemplating an offer of a big teaching and administrative position at a university in England, and he asks himself – is Israel the country I love or is Israel the country I might leave? He consults with a friend, with his wife, and with his father, all in an effort to come to a greater understanding of who he is, where he wants his children to grow up, and whether or not he can abandon his aging father. Is it always possible to achieve one’s dreams?

Meanwhile, he revisits the five original men from his film. The first is Saar, who grew up in a wealthy home in north Tel Aviv. There were repercussions to something Saar said as a youngster in the original film, and therefore he refuses to be interviewed again. Then we meet Meir, a disenchanted member of a kibbutz, who believes strongly in his army reserve duty in a combat engineering corps unit and Yossi who has left behind his roots in a development town and moved with his wife to the center of the country. We meet Mondar from Taibe who owns his own garage but still dreams of studying law. We also meet Joshua from Kfar Chabad who now lives with his wife and six children in America.

Each character, in his own way, provides a startling look at the compromises made in life, how one must adapt one’s dreams and how shifts are made in one’s priorities.

Good Morning Israel is a documentary inside look at Israeli society, 74 minutes, available from Dragoman Films

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