General Chief of Staff, Defense Forces, 1993-1998 "…Remarkable..a winning portrayal of lovers
in a dangerous time."
Michael Fox, San Francisco Weekly "…rendering a new style of autobiographical
documentary diary, whose intensity and rhythm increases
with the pace of true life events in Israel.
Filled with emotion and sentiment yet clings to hope."
Simone Tedeschi, L'Unita (Italy) “…Raw but extremely moving…In a series of correspondences far too ironic for any scriptwriter to have dreamed up, his painful movement from innocence to adulthood comes to mirror the country’s own”
Adina Hoffman , Jerusalem Post The film surprises the viewer for its sensitivy, its taste, its cinematic tone,
Its humility. A big achievement on every level.
…A beautiful, painful and touching film…A grand experience."
Made with a total understanding of the cinematic media.
You must see it! And remember!'
Amir Kaminer, Yediot Aharanot (Israel’s largest daily newspaper)
"I saw grief, candles, love and the army in this film.
All of them fill our lives. Dan Katzir managed in a beautiful and
Touching way and with simple words to thread these elements
Into a wonderful film.
Leah Rabin A TIME OF HOPE
The Jerusalem Post, Time-Out, Friday, 12.11.1997
The raw and candid ‘Out for Love… Back Soon’ reflects the life of director Dan Katzir and our recent history.
By Shai Tsur
As a child, Dan Katzir dreamed about making “the kind of movies where the good guys beat up the bad guys and where justice always wins”
Serving as a paratroop officer during the Intifada, however, Katzir developed different ideas. “in the army I saw real fighting and pretty much hated it. So I started to dream about making films dealing with emotions, romance and love.”
These dreams resulted in Katzir’s quirky, intimate documentary out for love… back soon, (Hebrew title: Yatzati Lehapes Ahava… Techef Ahzor). The film, which started as a film school project, eventually became the surprise winner of the wolgin award for Best Documentary film at the15th Jerusalem film festival in July.
Alternately funny and touching, Out for Love… begins with Katzir documenting his search for a girlfriend. Along the way he meets iris a pretty young woman from a Galilee moshav, living in Tel Aviv before her induction. As their relationship burgeons Katzir captures the developments with his home video camera.
The result is a remarkably raw and honest piece of work. Katzir pulls no punches, showing himself as hesitant, introverted, unable to express his love for Iris properly and constantly worried that he will “lose her in sea of uniforms” once she enters the army.
He sets his personal love story against the intense backdrop of history, documenting the events from 1994 to 1997 alongside the events of his personal life. Katzir shows the hopefulness following the peace treaty with Jordan.
He wades through angry demonstrations against Yitzhak Rabin, shows the sea of memorial candles following the bombings in Tel Aviv, and films from a position inside the crowed gathered to view Rabin’s casket following the assassination.
This transposition of the search for love and meaning with the enormous weight of recent historical events makes for a surprisingly acute picture of life in Israel.
As such, Out for Love… serves as a worthy counterpart to David Perlov’s Diary, a series of four highly personal films from 1973 to 1983 which document the various elements of Perlov’s life, from his relationship with his wife and daughters and his youth in Brazil to the Yom Kippur and Lebanon wars.
As one of Katzir’s film teachers at Tel Aviv University, Perlov inspired the young director to follow the path that Out for Love… eventually took.
“The first films I made were very alienated and cynical,” Katzir says of his early efforts at drama. “Then [perlov] told me that instead of making things up I should attempt to connect with the camera, to start filming what was going on in my life.” And so, Katzir turned the camera on him self and iris. The viewer may wonder how the relationship managed to develop under the vigilant gaze of the camcorder.
“It was difficult,” Katzir admits with a characteristic bashful smile. “Luckily, she loved me and was willing to suffer my craziness. Neither of us knew what would come of it.”
Katzir describes Out for Love… as the story of “a young man who wants to move ahead in life and has to make the decision whether to go in the direction of hope and love. There is a constant conflict between the fires of hate and the fires of love, where in the background you have the flames of memorial candles. He maintains that one of the film’s strongest elements is its dogged innocence and unabashed romanticism, elements lacking in most Israeli movies today. This feeling of hope in the face of all odds, says the director, helps audiences relate to the film and himself.
“I think most people in Israel are like this,” he says. “On the one hand, we live in a very hard reality. On the other hand the only thing that helps us keep our sanity and not jump off the roof is that deep inside we have something innocent and some feeling that things will get better.”
Nonetheless, harshness pervades the film. One of the most chilling moments in Out for Love… occurs when, during a conversation Katzir films with his grandmother, they get news about the bombing of Bus No. 5. The conversation quickly turns from one of romance, to one of violence, as Katzir’s grandmother gives a firsthand account of the terrorist attack at Ben-Gurion Airport in 1972 during which Katzir’s grandfather was killed. The realization that his personal history reflected that of many others provided a turning point for the film.
“The reality here is that each family has a closet filled with keepsakes drenched in blood,” Katzir says. “In my family it’s my grandfather. But I wasn’t special. I wasn’t the only child in Israel whose grandfather was murdered. Like many other people I have my own wounds. Some of us have wounds from terrorism, some of us have wounds from the Holocaust, some of us have wounds from the wars.”
Along with the Wolgin Award, Out for Love… also took home the Jury Award at the 1997 Israel Film Institute Festival in Tel Aviv. The success of the movie surprises the director. “For Two years I looked for funding and I got rejection letters saying that the film didn’t interest anyone,” he says. “No one liked the movie, or the idea for the movie.” Due to the nature of the film, he says the negative reception took on a personal aspect.
“there is a real fear [showing this film] because this is a movie about myself,” he says. “If the audience doesn’t like the film it means they don’t like you.” He was heartened by its reception at the Jerusalem film festival. “It was a Cinderella story. Suddenly I got a standing ovation, I was in shock.”
Katzir believes the audience relate to the film’s honesty and finds in it an avenue to express their opinions. He says that most Israelis hesitate to express opinions different from the majority. “Suddenly some one stands up and says of himself ‘I think differently,” he says of himself. “This gives people the courage to say ‘actually, I also fell the same way. Maybe I’m fed up. Maybe I’m fed up with wars. Maybe I’m also feeling crushed by the weight of historical events. Maybe I want some space and privacy. Maybe I want to love.”
Although the film does not specifically revolve around the murder, Katzir believes it fits in with the memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, both as a document of his times and as a reflection of the emotions of those times.
“The anniversary of Rabin’s death is different from, for instance, Holocaust Remembrance Day,” he says. “We remember not only the murder, but I think that everyone remembers the hope that we had then. My film is trapped between these two poles of sadness and this desire for something. For me it’s love. I think this film belongs to Yitzhak Rabin because his time in office will be remembered as a time of hope and my film is filled with this hope.”
Katzir is currently finished up the final requirements for his film degree. He has several other projects in the works, both documentary and fiction. “I want to tell stories that reflect our reality here in Israel,” he says. This drive to make specifically Israeli films goes against the trend of Katzir’s colleagues at film school, many of whom, he says, are looking to use formulas taken from American movies of the 1960s.
“they think that the audience isn’t interested in films about life in Israel. I am interested in Israel and what makes up an Israeli love story, not an American love story. I hope I can preserve the romantic tone of this film.”
Channel 1 screens Out for Love… Back Soon on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.
Calev Ben-David , Jerusalem Post, Time-Out, Friday, 12.11.1997, Page 11
A REASONABLE DOUBT?
Yes, yes, I admit it, your honor – I’m guilty of once having taken the entrance exam for law school and an ashamed to say I didn’t do too badly at it, either. Fortunately, I came to my senses at the last moment and opted for journalism instead – the only vocation held in lower public esteem than the legal profession.
Perhaps my aborted law career is the reason I love watching courtroom dramas, be they in print, on stage, in movies or on TV. But this fondness doesn’t extend to watching the real-life thing. I find most true-life TV trials slow, dull, and overly long. Strangely enough, nobody ever bursts out in the witness box and confesses to the crime like they did on the old Perry Mason show. In the interminable O.J. Simpson (criminal) trial, the main character didn’t even take the stand – talk about anti-climactic.
Yet the Louise Woodward “nanny trial,” whose highlights I caught CNN and Sky News, made for truly fascinating viewing. The emotion of the witnesses, the concisely presented forensic evidence (no five-hour dissertations on DNA), the real mystery at the heart of the case made this better than any 10 episodes of L.A. Law or Sitton.
Even more important, the Woodward coverage performed a valuable public service. After the O.J farce, I was beginning to think that live broadcasting of trials was as good an idea as Chris Darden making simpson put on those gloves.
But without the cameras in the courthouse in this case, most of us would really have no idea what an utter witch-hunt this particular trial has turned out to be. I have no idea whether Woodward is guilty or innocent, but from the evidence (or lack of) we all saw presented on screen, no human being other than Uri Geller on a good day could possibly know beyond a reasonable doubt what happened to baby Matthew.
Maybe it’s time we turned on the cameras in local courthouses, as was done in the Eichmann and Demjanjuk trials. I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing with my own eyes the upcoming trials of Yigal Amir heartthrob margalit Har-Shefi or alleged Russian mafia mastermind Zvi Ben-Ari (alias Gregory Lerner). As the Woodward trial showed us sometimes even the fickle court of public opinion can be more reliable than the closed courts of law.
The fact that too many real-life mysteries are simply beyond solving accounts for the popularity of the detective genre in which improbably omniscient gumshoes manage to wrap up every loose end of a case in a neat and tidy package. In recent years, a number of novelists – including Batya Gur, Jonathan Kellerman and ex-Jerusalem post writer Robert Rosenberg – have chosen Jerusalem as a sufficiently exotic backdrop against which to set such thriller plots.
Last weekend, Channel 2 broadcast the first installment of a three-part series entitled Detective in Jerusalem, showing on Saturday at 9:50 p.m., which offers a fairly complement variation on the same idea.
Based on a book by the novelist and left-wing polemicist Yoram Kaniuk, it features as its protagonist a disillusioned ex Mossad agent who is drawn back into the world of intrigue after an old acquaintance is shot outside a Jerusalem monastery. The trail soon leads to a shady faux priest and a hoard of spanish gold buried in the holy city centuries before.
By the standards of locally produced television Detective in Jerusalem, if no Law & Order or even Murder, She Wrote, is not bad. My main caveat is the casting of Yehoram gaon as the secretive, prickly lead character. Don’t get me wrong: my problem isn’t with the acting of the bearish singer-actor. But for those of you who don’t know, Gaon has another job outside his showbiz career. After running in the last municipal election as an independent coalition, hr now serves as a Jerusalem city council member in Mayor Ehud Olmert’s ruling coalition.
Now, I know that Clint Eastwood continued making movies while serving as mayor of Carmel, and that probably nobody (outside of music critics) would have complained if Sonny Bono had cut a few records while occupying the Palm Spring city hall. But Jerusalem has a few more serious problems than those California playgrounds for the rich. So the question is: Does Councilman Gaon really have so much spare time to star in TV shows while this city falling apart?
I have a suggestion. Perhaps in upcoming episodes, the Detective in Jerusalem could tackle such challenging cases as “The Mystery of the Massive Arnona Rates,” “The Riddle of the uncollected garbage pails,” and “the puzzle of the Bar-Ilan street stonings.” Now those would be mysteries worth solving.
Do you ever get the feeling that this country is turning into some kind of real-life episode of the X-Files? There was no much talk about absurd Rabin assassination conspiracy theories this week on the tube, I half expected agents Mulder and Scully to turn up on Popolitica and reveal that Avishai Raviv is actually an alien clone.
A more intelligent TV treatment of the late prime minister’s death can be seen next week in Dan Katzir’s fine documentary Out for Love… Back soon, airing on Channel 1 on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.
(see feature on Page 2).
This cinema-verite video diary by budding filmmaker Katzir defly mixes its director’s various personal concerns – his rocky romance with iris, a young girl about to be drafted, his qualms about his own army service during the intifada – and the growing sense of crisis in this country in the months leading up to Rabin’s murder.
Both the assassination and a surprising coincidence at the end of the documentary which ties katzir to the Rabin family help elevate what could have been a self-indulgent home movie into a perceptive, funny and sad meditation on how in Israel, the line between the personal and the political became all to blurred. Never polemical or strident (unlike other Rabin-related documentaries), Out for Love… Back Soon is a good way to spend what for many will be a very sad night.
The good, the bad and
the Bibi Calev Ben-David Is there anything more shallow, trivial and meaningless than those “top 10” lists that reviewers draw up to look back on the past 12 months of films, records, books, etc? Sure - most of what is regularly broadcast on our TV screens. Thus I have no compunction at all in presenting this authoritative, completely objective look - in my opinion - of the best and worst of the boob tube during 1997. Starting with:
1. The Larry Sanders Show (Family Channel) - This catty behind-the-scenes look at a TV talk show is simply one of the greatest sitcoms ever, and surely the best ever to deal with the show-biz scene. Writet/star Gary Shandling is brilliant as the insecure, ego-driven host. Inspired - it is said - by David Letterman. Even Better is Jeffery Tambor as his monumentally dunderheaded cohost Hank Kingsley. The episode a few weeks back in which Hank rediscovers his religious roots because he wants to hang our at Steven Spielberg’s Shul was a priceless parody of Hollywood’s new Jewish rediscovery fad.
2. Law & Order (Family Channel) - There’s a whole slew of good crime shows being produced by the American networks these days, but this New-York - based cops & lawyers drama is superior to the fine NYPD blue and Homicide because it eschews their tendency for soap opera-like personal plotlines - a legacy of Hill Street Blues - to wisely focus on the moral dilemmas of working in the justice system. The recent three-episode story line in which the Law & Order crew investigates the murder of a Hollywood bigwig was a classic NY grit vs. LA glitz face-off.
3. Diana’s Funeral - I was no fan of the late Princess Di, and I believe the English monarchy because little more than an irrelevant bore after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. But there’s simply no denying that this royal send-off was a tremendous television event, providing an emotional walto equal the broad-cast funerals of such far more significant figures as JFK and Yitzhak Rabin. Elton Jhon’s moving performance, Earl Spencer’s angry eulogy, the final flower-strewn drive of Diana’s hearse were unforgettable TV moments.
4. Pride & Prejudice (Channel 1) - The Jane Austen revival was climaxed by this superb BBC - produced miniseries, whice if anything seemed too short at six hours. Jennifer Elhe as Elizabeth and Colin firth as Mr. Darcy headed a brilliant cast in this class act, which by my lights was even better that all of the highly touted Austen asaptations that have been produced for the big screen during the past few years.
5. Out For Lobe, Be Back Shortly (Channel 1) - There were a number of outstanding locally, produced documentaries aired this year, but best was Dan Katzir’s wry, funny and painful look at how this country’s recent political upheavals - in particular the Rabin assassination - have playes havoc with his love life.
6. Cracker (Channel 2) - This occasionally-run British series about a police psychologist who has more than a few screws loose himself, would make this list just on the merit of Robbie Coltrane’s searing performance as the deeply flawed hero. But this is an all-around cracker of a show, which hopefully will return to our screens with new installments soon.
7. Florentine (channel 2) - I never thought I’d be putting an Israeli series on my best 10 list, but this show about the lives and loves of hip, young Tel Avivans, has beaten the odds. Creator/director Eitan Fox deserves special credit for bringing out the best in Florentine’s talented young cast, and lending the production a visual pananche rare for a locally-shot program.
8. Friends (Family Channel) - It’s become fashionable in the US to dump on this show now that it’s no longer as “in” as it was on its debut three years ago. But Friends remains a top-quality sitcom, and as long as it boasts the adorable and irresistible (and Jewish!) Lisa Kudrow, it will remain near the top of my list.
9. The Knesset memorial session for the She’ar Yashuv helicopter crash - Our national parliament usually provides us with some of our most sickening moments of TV viewing, so it’s only fair to give it credit for one of its finest hours in recent years. Both Binyamin Netanyahu’s and Ehud Barak’s speeches from the podium were perhaps the finest addresses of their careers. If only our Knesset members could sustain a fraction of the dignity and decorum this tragic occasion demanded of them.
10. The Likud convention - in contrast to the above item, this on-air spectacle represented a low point in our local political culture. Still, it made for great viewing; as a television depiction of behind-the-scenes plotting, it ranked right up there with the British miniseries House of Cards, and Limor Livnat’s defiant speech before a hostile central committee crowd was a scene right out of Frank Capra movie.
ALTHOUGH I don’t have the stomach to write out a complete 10 worst television shows of the year, there were certainly plenty of low points which could quality. For my money, nothing was more painful than Channel 1’s misguided coverage of the Maccabiah bridge collapse, which tastelessly combined - sometimes on the upbeat opening ceremony with scenes of suffering from the site of the accident.
A disaster on a different level was the prime minister’s televised address to the nation immediately following the announcement of the results of the attorney-general’s inquiry into the Bar-On affair. Bibi is still, on occasion, an inspired television performer - witness his deft interview with Ilana Dayan last Sunday, in which he smoothlu parried most of her pointed thrusts and never lost his poise. But in the Bar-On broadcast, he simply went ballistic and delivered a tirade worthy of Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate.
Speaking of losing your marbles, Sara Netanyahu also deserves a TV booby prize for her reported live-on-tape outburst during an interview with Dayan earlier this year. We never got to see this censored bit of venom, but I strongly suspect this bit of videotape will turn up eventually, most likely right before the next election.
Any number of locally produced shows could also qualify for a “10 worst,” but channel 2’s fleshy soap opera Fatal Money surely deserves special mention for sinking to a near-pornographic level in order to attract viewers. As for the inexplicably popular Dudu Topaz, his cheesy variety/talk show would also quality, even if ma’ariv hadn’t run an expose earlier in the year proving that he’s cheated viewers by doling out cash-and-gift prizes in rigged-from-the-start contests. (Remember the guy photographed with a cardboard Michelle Pfeiffer?)
And what about 1998? Well, next year’s viewing is already looking up, as Channel 1 will shortly be bringing us new episodes of the funniest adult comedy series ever: The Simpsons. Cowabunga!