"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.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Eran Riklis

Last night at the opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival, Eran Riklis was presented with a life achievement award! Riklis is one of Israel's most successful directors and all of his films are issue-oriented, offering a critical view into the most important political and social issues of this period.

Born in Jerusalem in 1954, Riklis was educated and raised in Canada, the United States, Brazil and Israel.  After he studied film at Tel Aviv University (1975-77), he continued his studies in England and graduated from the National Film School at Beaconsfield (1982).

During his career, Riklis has directed dramas, documentaries and television series.  His documentary, Borders, about people who live and work along Israel's borders with its neighbors, won prizes at Munich, Houston and Mexico.   Riklis' feature films have won international acclaim by critics, audiences and festivals alike –

  • On a Clear Day You Can See Damascus (1984) portrays a true story of an Israeli sympathizer who becomes a spy for Syria
  • Cup Final (1991) explores themes of male bonding during wartime, the relationship between captor and captive, and the possibility of coexistence in the politically tense atmosphere of the Middle East, all on the background of a story about an Israeli soldier who is captured by a PLO unit during the war in Lebanon
  • Zohar: Mediterranean Blues (1993) tells the tragic story of Israeli singer Zohar Argov
  • Vulcan Junction (1999) about a rock band on the background of political issues
  • Syrian Bride (2004) shows a bride as a metaphor for the Druze of the Golan Heights, caught between a rock and a hard place
  • Lemon Tree (2008) is a story of two women – one Palestinian and one Israeli, definitely a film about vulnerability, victimization and the misuse of power
  • The Human Resources Manager (2010) is a literary adaptation, based on a novel by A.B. Yehoshua, about the transformation of an Israeli self-centered workaholic into a man of caring and compassion as he tries to make atonement for the treatment of  migrant workers.

The impression is often that a life achievement award implies the end of a successful career.  But Eran Riklis feels that he has many productive years ahead, and he concluded his remarks at the award ceremony, quoting Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer (1927), "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

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