This film is based on an autobiographical novel by Amos Oz published in 2002. It’s the story told in flashbacks of his youth in the late 1940’s and the setting is the last years of Mandatory Palestine and the first years of independent Israel. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 partitioned Mandatory Palestine into an independent Arab and Jewish state. A civil war begins in Palestine and Amos’ father fights in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Amos looks back on his relationship with his parents and his beginnings as a writer. He believes the stories we tell become the stories we live.
The first book written by Amos’ father Arieh had five printed copies in the bookstore. They stayed on the shelf for a long time until all copies were bought at the same time. Amos’ mother is Fania and she becomes deeply depressed causing her to be unable to sleep or eat. Amos and his father try to hide her illness from their friends and family. Amos tries to remove himself from his past by living on a Kibbutz. I didn’t like this film. It’s deep and dark but it’s not really saying anything. It’s not about their feelings about what is happening or why but just the events. Since there are subtitles, I needed to pay attention but it was a struggle!! I can see that Portman would have a passion for this subject but I didn’t feel drawn into this film? 1 ½* (I really didn’t like this movie)
95 min, Bio directed by Natalie Portman with Gilad Kahana, Amir Tessler, Natalie Portman, Moni Moshonov, Ohad Knoller, Makram Khoury, Alexander Peleg, Neta Riskin, Rotem Keinan, Tomer Kapon, Yonaton Shiray, Shira Haas, Asia Naifeld.
Note: Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 65% critic 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 30 reviews, Rolling Stone 3* out of 4*.
Special Note: Filmed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jordan River, Kibbutz Beit Nir, Kibbutz Hulda, Israel. This is the first film directed by Natalie Portman. The producers wanted the film to be in English but she fought to have it remain in Hebrew. Portman optioned the rights to the book in 2007. It took nearly 8 years to acquire funding and produce this film.