Israel, France, 2018
94 minutes, Color
Director Amos Gitai (via Skype)
One of Israel's greatest directors, Amos Gitai (Rabin's Last Day, FFDC 2016) turns his documentarist's eye to fiction. In a series of vignettes, we meet various passengers in a Jerusalem tramcar. A picture of a people emerges, at turns comical, political, and transcendent. Women and Palestinians are routinely if differently harassed; others are "harassed by holiness." Readers read (aloud) and rappers rap. A couple is turned on by military pride, and another couple will divorce over a wartime betrayal. A Frenchman sees Israel through Flaubert's eyes, and a mother sees its dim future in her schlemiel son. Streetcar as metaphor is not new; it travels as Illusion in cinema (Luis Buñuel) and as Desire in theater (Tennessee Williams). That's how Gitai's tram works on us; eventually we guess it's enacted, yet we pay our way and ride along, each time anew, to travel with a trusted conductor. —Judy Bloch
In Hebrew, Arabic, French, Italian, Yiddish, and German with English subtitles
Preceded by the short film
Israel, 2018, 35 minutes
Inspired by Albert Camus's early 1940s "letters" to an imaginary friend in Germany, Gitai turns to the written word as worth a thousand images in evoking the protracted conflict at the Israel-Gaza border. Actors read poems and essays by Hebrew and Palestinian writers that can be summed up in the opening line: Think of the Other.
In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Filmmaker who was trained as an architect, Amos Gitai directed an extensive kaleidoscope of films observing the Middle East and the Israeli society. Among them are features films as well as documentaries, installations and performances. He was awarded the Rossellini and the Robert Bresson Prizes, as well as the Legion d'Honneur.
Gitai's work was presented in several major retrospectives in Pompidou Center Paris, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) New York, the Lincoln Center New York, and the British Film Institute London.
To date, Amos Gitai has created over 90 works of art throughout 38 years. Between 1999 and 2017, ten of his films entered the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Venice Film Festival.
Laurence Kardish organized over a thousand moving-image exhibitions during his 44 years at MoMA including an Amos Gitai retrospective, Non-Fiction, in 2008. Presently he is the co-artistic director of FilmColumbia, an annual festival in Chatham, New York, and teaches cinema in the graduate program of the School of Visual Arts in New York.