"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, August 19, 2018

Identity Theft

You Only Die Twice, a film by David Deri and, Yair Lev, is a compelling historical and personal mystery.  The filmmaker, a second generation survivor, sets out on a journey to solve a family mystery.  

When the filmmaker's mother inherits a cottage in an upscale neighborhood of London, she has to prove who she is and how she is related to the deceased.  The lawyer dealing with the case discovers something unsettling in her father's records.  Ernst Bechinsky, her father, lived in Palestine since the 1930s and died there.  But the lawyer has discovered a second death certificate from the 1980s for a man living in Austria, with the same name and the identical date of birth.  How could this be? 

The filmmaker, Yair Lev, travels to Innsbruck to discover who was this imposter who took his grandfather's identity and why would someone steal another's identity? 

The story slowly unfolds as the filmmaker interviews people who might have known the second Ernst Bechinsky, as he reconstructs the past, and considers what might have motivated this man. He discovers a close connection to an Austrian Nazi family and builds a surprising bond with the grandson of this family – a man his own age, a man also grappling with living in the shadow of that time.  This is a film about victims and perpetrators and living with the burden of the past, about identity and about shattering our own assumptions.    

The film won an award at DocAviv 2018 – the jury's comments: "Research is the heart and soul of this film, a film where the director works as investigator, uncovering a personal mystery to reveal a profound truth about family, brotherhood and forgiveness."

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