Scenes from Films – “Crimes and Misdemeanors” by Woody Allen (1989)

 

A Scene from Crimes and Misdemeanors by Woody Allen (1989)

Aging and filled with guilt Judah (Martin Landau) visits his childhood home. When he stands at the heart of it, a very vivid memory comes to life – a family dinner (a “Passover Seder”). All the family sits around the big table and reads from the holiday book (Hagaddah). Soon a very hot discussion arises between the family members about god, religion, belief and how Hitler “got away with it”. Judah, up until now only a by stander in his own memory, intervenes in the discussion and asks his father at the head of the table: “if a man commits a crime, if he kills?”. The people in the dream turn around and look at him, not too surprised. His father answers: “In one way or another he will be punished”. Someone quickly contradicts him by saying: “if he’s caught”. This opens a new debate about morality. When Judah hears the word “murder” he asks: “Who said anything about murder?”. His father replies: “You did”. Judah is shocked. He finally realizes that his conscience is talking to him and that he’s blaming himself in the murder. Is he a murderer? Will he pay for his part in killing Dolores (his not too stable lover)?

Crimes and Misdemeanors (3)

The beautiful thing with this scene is how Judah is playing a part in his own flashback. While many films gives us a close-up on the face of the actor and then cut to a flashback scene, Woody Allen breaks the convention and let his lead have a discussion on morals, crime and punishment with his Jewish family over the holiday dinner, while he is standing right there with them. Not in the past, but right now in the present. It’s not just voices inside his head, but a real scene with long-dead family members, and his younger self sitting at the back. Of course we should add to that the wonderful, funny and witty dialogs Allen is so famous for. It’s a philosophical discussion done with wit and a smile. At “Crime and Misdemeanors” Woody Allen is at his best, and this scene is a classic moment.

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Scenes from Films – “Sunshine” by István Szabó (1999)

A Scenes from “Sunshine” by István Szabó (1999)

In this short scene (only about 48 seconds) we see a house garden full with the blossom of many yellow flowers, making the people who live there (the Sonnenschein family) very excited. Young Valerie (Jennifer Ehle) brings out her camera which is held on a tripod in order to capture this view. The only thing that bothers her with the scenery is a chair which stands lonely at the center of the garden. When no one listen to her plead that the chair should be removed she walks barefoot into the garden in order to do it herself. Almost reaching the chair she steps on a thorn, sits on the chair trying to pull it out with her fingers. Her step brother Gustave (James Frain) takes the opportunity to take the photo of the blooming garden with his sister in it. Two people react to this action – Valerie who shows her somewhat angry surprise that she was captured like this, or maybe because her camera was used and a photo is wasted, and the reaction of her other step brother, Ignatz (Ralph Fiennes), who’s watching the scene from the balcony and is completely taken by the beauty of it.

Sunshine pic 2

This scene is about beauty and trying to capture it. Valerie wants a piece of reality framed in a picture, but she can’t take it as it is and tries to change it to her liking. In doing so the moment is lost and replaced by a new one in which she plays a lead role. Whether she likes it or not, we’re not completely sure (later on in the movie and in the history of the Sonnenschein family this photo will rise again and again as a symbol of a beautiful moment which is already lost in time).

Gustave, the brother who was bold and cheeky enough to snap this photo on his sister’s camera, feels that this scene of blossom is not good enough without his sister in it. He captures the moment, making it an accidental piece of art. His sister which he loves and adores is finally captured – but he didn’t captured her heart, just a beautiful image of her body.

As for Ignatz, the older step brother who’s also in love with Valerie, he is in another place – the balcony. He can’t reach and touch what is happening down in the garden. He can only watch it, enjoy it for a moment and be overwhelmed by the beauty of it.

By this scene Szabó (the director) defines his characters and gives us a hint for the events we are about to experience later on in the movie. Capturing and managing beauty is the role of the film director. He’s also obsessed by having the perfect moment constructed to his liking. Like Valerie the director will try to move the chair, and while doing so sometimes something new will happen, a moment of magic, a work of art in the creation. Gustave took the photo by pure impulse, but that’s also a part of making art. There are two great forces at work here – the first force is the obsessive hand of man constructing all the little details, trying to create the perfect moment. The second force is a chaotic unstoppable chain of events that no one can predict or plan. Be fast and bold enough and you can catch the beauty. Wait another moment and it’s gone. I think this is what filmmaking is all about – catching the most beautiful butterfly in the field, pin it into a glass box where he is forever frozen in time and space.

Sunshine pic 3

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The Israel Antiquities Authority Stories

Beit-Shemesh Dig 8s

The Story of the digging of a 1,500 year old church and monastery at Ramat Beit Shemesh:

Gold Coin 1s

Menora Yarden s

A golden Muslim coin and a Jewish candle found at the Galilee:

Jerusalem Tagit 8s

A first temple period finds at the old city of Jerusalem:


Under Jerusalem

Rockfeller Center in Sunset

(Rockfeller Museum, the headquarters of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem)

Archaeological excavation are always exciting. Especially so when done under the most historical acclaimed city in the world – Jerusalem. I was very happy to have the chance to work with the Israel Antiquities Authority, and to make their video on the new archaeological findings under the Western Wall Tunnels. Apparently this place is full of surprises, and the latest one is a Roman theater, buried just under the Wilson Arch. This video tells the story:

 


Edgybees

Drone Prix v89 pach 02 fix.mov.00_01_22_08.Still001

Edgybees is an amazing start-up company who made drones not only fun to fly around, but also a gaming consul that uses drones and augmented reality.  We had the privilege to make this video for them and enjoy the ride in the sky.


Palais des Thés Israel

charles-and-sara

In recent years I’ve been turning from coffee to tea. I still love coffee, but I think it interferes with my sleeping habits so I’ve decided to let it go. It took some time to find a new hot drink that will fill the gap. In our warm climate middle-eastern weather, drinking hot beverages might sound a little strange, but like the Bedouin are saying – there is nothing like a hot sweet tea in the middle of the desert to cool the body. It wasn’t love in first taste, but I’ve started drinking tea. After a few months I’ve got used to it, and by now I’m completely taken over. Good Earl-Gray tea in the morning, an herbal mix after lunch and a nice rooibos in the evening are just wonderful, tasty way of life.

When I’ve discovered that in the middle of Tel-Aviv we have Palais des Thés – a store that specializes in tea, I was surprised and thrilled. I didn’t realize how much there is to learn about the art of tea making, and how many different wonderful kind to tea and herbs are waiting for me to try them out.  After meeting with the owner, Charles Peguine it was settled that a whole series of shorts how-to-commercials should be made and tell some of the secrets of the tea. I’m sorry that the videos are only in Hebrew, but the charm and magic of Charles and Sara can’t be denied even when you can’t understand what they say.

How to make the perfect cup of tea:

How to make cold tea:

How to make Matcha Tea:


Trailer for Land of the Little People

The words “trailer”, “festival” and “screening” are definitely good signs — the completion of my feature film project “Land of the Little People”. With more than 7 years in the making, I can’t even start to explain my excitement, which is enormous. So, here it is, the trailer for Land of the Little People:

 


CoffeeStation

CoffeeStation King George

I love coffee, I really do (Although I can’t drink too much of it..). Not only do they have a wonderful taste and smell, they also have this special quality of magnificent tasty look, which adds a lot to the overall experience. That’s why I was so happy to make commercial videos for CoffeeStation. They have great coffee, professional baristas and top-notch design made by Lee-ran Shlomi Gidron & Itay Gidron and special tailored aprons made by Anat Berman. Making these videos was a real celebration of all the right colors and flavors.

 


Abandoned Israel and the story of the Mysterious Rifle Casing

Dirty Cliff - s

A new project of mine led me to be a tour guide to “Abandoned” Israeli sites. I offer these tours FREE of charge. Why? Because these rarely visited places should be seen by people who could appreciate them. So last Friday I led a little guided tour to one of my favorite places. On the way back, when walking on the dunes up the Hof Hasharon cliff, I’ve stumbled upon a completely hard-sand covered rifle casing. I know that not so far from this place there was a mandate British Police post, which task was to watch over the coast line and prevent illegal (Jewish) immigration in the 30th and the 40th of the 20th century. I was curious whether this casing could be that old.

After putting it in water and scratching the base of the casing, me and my friends could read the engraving in the metal: US 15 VII.

Casing revealed US 15 VII

Searching for these signs over the internet, led us to a correspondent at the International Ammunition Association:

Ammunition Assosiation

So… A Lewis automatic machine gun. And yes, it was used by the British army. I guess they had some field training, firing range to calibrate the gun or maybe even an actual warning shooting toward an immigration ship which tried to approach the beach. More then 70 years the casing was buried in the sand, and now it had some of its story told.

LewisGun

More interesting stories are waiting for us out there, and you are welcome to join me in revealing them. Check it out and sign in for a tour: derelictisraelfreetour


Ros Plazma

Ros10s

 

I had the privilege to document Ros Plazma when he volunteered to paint for the ‘Land of the Little People’ crowd funding campaign. He did a great job in imagining a shot we’ve produced on video half a year later. In this shot the children are standing on top of a well and looking inside. What are they seeing? That is yet to be discovered…

 

the land of the little people-s

(Ros Plazma painting. February 2014)

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(a frame from work in progress ‘Land of the Little People’. July 2014)

(Ros painting video)

A few days ago Ros called me and asked if I would like to come and document a ‘wall painting’ work he is doing. How could I refuse?


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