Hello my devoted six readers and followers old and hopefully new
I didn’t write in a long time, missed me?
Well, I have the perfect excuse I am now in my 3rd and most wonderful version of “Looking for Louis“.
I have a wonderful script editor, November Walderine( aka. The fantastic Cassie Hirsch), and an Israeli Producer Gidi Avivi, who’ between them makes me a better comedy screenwriter, than I am.
So, today I am 60 years old Half a life.
What do I show for it? Well, a book, that hardly sell, OK it’s a history book, and I’m not a popular, good looks,(“Really, I thought you’re 38/40/53/50”), and a boundless optimism laced with tinge of depression, doubt and a lot of skepticism, and the lowest size of elbows and ego, this side of the Western Hemisphere. But, today, I wish to write about something else, about my greatest passion Movies, Film, Cinema, Flicks, Kolnoa, Le/La/Il Cinema, Al Film, Aflam, and Kino; whatever the words, it means one thing to me excitement, and love, sorrow and anger, laughter, and raspberries, a lot of them lately, and sadly.
True I love literature and music, long walks(Quick march tempo), and sometimes doing the wild and utterly non sensible movement, which I call dancing, others call it by different names, mostly Idiotic Tribal Dance. Shame on you ignoramus, who don’t appreciate the fine line between my dancing and yours.
Let’s return to my beloved subject Movies. Well, one time I talked to Mr. Itay Ilnay, a reporter at “Yediot Tel-Aviv”, a Weekend Israeli Magazine, who did a piece on 40 years to Tel-Aviv Cinemateque, featuring myself (I work there and my non Israeli readers can come and visit me, if they’re not BDS, and leftist like me)
So anyway the question was asked, it’s unavoidable, when it comes to me:”How many movies did you see”? I estimated the figure to be around 400,000 movies.
That was 2013, and the number jumped to 410,00.
Avishay Mano, my dear and beloved Brother’s son-in-law, said it was impossible, it’s not.
I’ve seen them at theaters, classrooms, auditoriums, out in the open, I’ve seen them at birthdays parties, political and cinema clubs, on TV, in a private screening room as a film critic and journalist, on evening Israeli gala performances, seen them on first raw, second raw, sideways, on last raw(My preferable one), as a lone audience, as part of three, as part of many, as part of middle matinée crowd 50- 40 at the best, with a rowdy out of control audience, with a silent ones, with dates, with soul mate, colleagues, seen movies I suffered/angered/loved/ rooted/ hated, seen movies which I was the only one who loved, which I was part of a consensus, movies which I hated and the majority didn’t, movies which resulted in arguments, movies I hooted after seen them, or rooted, movies which did something, changed some of my attitudes or hardened the ones I have, movies I taught my students, at a wonderful year -Sapir College near Sderot, South Israel),
The movies I first saw were in “Gal Or”-Joselito and “Lili”-Mariashka’s “Good Soldier Schweick’, that was Ramt-Gan in 1957-1964, later I ventured with my parents and brothers to other cinemas:”Kesem”, where I saw”The GOold Rush” my first Chaplin, “Rama”-George Pal’s”Tom Thumb”, “Hadar”-“Taras Bulba-J. Lee Thompson’s version, and”Ephraim Kishon’s “Shallach Shabaati”(1964) which I saw with my mom, brother and other laughing dervishes, like us in a full-out maximum capacity at same movie theater,-“Ordea-Me and Mody my brother Mody(aka: Zip”) seen “McLintock!”-John Wayne’s and Andrew V. McLaglen’s version of”The taming of the Shrew”, so I’ve been told. in”Orly” I saw a Turkish melodrama with my mother, on recommendation of Ilana Lichtenson, our Ashkenazy neighbour(Talk about Crossover Audience!!)
Because during this time, Israel was an immigrant’s nation, people who came from the four corners of the globe wanted and got their movies, going to a theater during 1956-1964, and before , was like going to a lottery, on a given day you’ve seen an Arabic matinée, Italian Neorealist melodrama on the first evening show, and on late night, maybe a British-who-done-it, and on Late Evening, a Hollywood adult comedy.
It’s my firm belief, that these kind of movie events, shaped me, made me the lover of movies all across the universe, enhanced my curiosity, the adrenaline which gripped me every time I sat through a movie, any movie, which made me literary rush, and hover over the skies of Ramat-Gan and Givataim, was something that only fIlm maker, film goer and a film critic can really understand, it’s the reason why I’m writing, this piece, my book, my screenplay. So, that if one reader can get some kind of excitement, some kind of love, some kind of truly want to make a movie, or be a movie historian, and I hope that you share my enthusiastic passion. ANYONE,,SOMEONE, somewhere, some how.
The years have gone, I became a film student, and the Tel-Aviv Cinemateque became my second home. During the seventies, I was a film student at the Tel-Aviv’s film department, sometimes before that, I saw two movies, which made me want to become film maker, -“The Genral” was shown ioon Israeli TV, and that was the first time I realized what movie is, what it meant to do, how to do it, the other was Vittorio De-Sicca’s”Lardi di Biccicleta(The Bicycle THieves”), which I saw at “Lili”, that was the time I also realized that a good movie is movie which records lives, as the are, and the power of the movie matched to a good novel, musical piece, think Beatles, Balzac, and think Cesare Zavattini and De-Sica, than you know what I’m talking about.
The Israeli Cinemateque and its manager Alon Garbuz, were a staple on my personality,I think that it was there, which I fully appreciated the movies as a communal art, not just commercial venture, they are, like literature and music, but there I saw Ozu’s “Tokyo Story”, the most greatest movie ever made, period. And I’m glad that the survey of 2012’s Sight and Sound’s Film Directors placed Ozu’s as No. 1, not “Vertigo”‘s Hitchcock. m=Mainly because this is one sad, elegiac film, which tells a simple story about lives of individual, young, old, widows, family men, in a country still ravaged by war, under American occupation, 6 years after Hiroshima, 7 years after the Holocaust, give us one accurate picture of a society aching for compassion in a modernized urban life, hardened, callous, obtuse, and without compassion, perhaps, there is, it’s in the end, where the old man, a fresh widower, as he’s sitting alone smiling and greeting his neighbour who asks him”:Neighbour, how do you feel”-“Good”. Tht’s last words, still give me something, does something in me, mn that no other film maker or film or any work of art did to me. And I saw it in Tel-Aviv Cinemateque, with 35 people at the cinema theater. and sure there are film critics and academics, film historians like me, others who scoff on my decision. OK, they can wallow in any bullshit they like, none of their movies can work as much as Ozu’s”Tokyo Story”. At last, that’s my opinion.
I’ve seen a the Cinemateque other movies, Osman Sembene, Mizzoguzzi, Von-Tortte’s”Christa Klagless” in German with no titles, and was moved by it. I was made by the T.A. Cinemateque, to be a keen observer, and even better movie lover.
So now, today I’m coming to my six decade, today scene is by now having lot of shadows(Hollywood), and lights(Elsewhere and some US Independent). there are multiplexes, and the cinemateque grew to 5 movie theaters, there are festivals, movies from all corners , are being shown, some are wonderful, some not. .
But, where is my adrenaline? It’s there, sometimes, most of the time it’s slumbering.
I’m still waiting for the next talent, the next exciting movie in 3D’s or not, in any language, maybe it will be my own, maybe not.
But I’m waiting, I’m optimistic.