A film by Anat Even
Israel 2005, 40'
A cinematic literary dialogue between the Israeli author, S. Yizhar, and filmmaker Anat Even; The film traverses Israel’s battered landscape, moving along its bypass roads that masquerade as the highway to Zionism, progressing and retreating in time when in fact it is stuck at the very point – when the Zionist dream is simultaneously realized and shattered.
The voice of this film is that of the Israeli author S. Yizhar, who reads the first few chapters of his autobiography "Mikdamot" (“Preliminaries” or Advances). Director Anat Even (“Detained”) accompanies Yizhar’s voice with her gaze, which continues it and stands against it at one and the same time.
S. Yizhar describes a dramatic day in the life of infant Yizhar, 1919, a story that is a dialogue of love and reckoning with his father, with the founding generation, and the Zionist dream. Even, who sees Yizhar as a member of that founding father generation, examines this score-settling up close through purely visual means. The film traverses Israel’s battered landscape, moving along its bypass roads that masquerade as the highway to Zionism, progressing and retreating in time when in fact it is stuck at the very point that Yizhar, the infant/80 year old, marked in “Mikdamot” – when the Zionist dream is simultaneously realized and shattered.
Yizhar Smilanski (b. 1917, known as S. Yizhar), is considered to be the greatest Israeli author of 20th century Hebrew writing; he is a part of the literary-cultural canon in Israel. His work spans over 60 years of writing and uses a unique language to draft the geographical and human landscape of Israel before, during and after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948].
Cinematographer, Director, Producer: Anat Even.
Script: Anat Even, Oron Adar.
Editor: Oron Adar.
Music: D.J. E.
Exe. Producer: Zeev Smilansky
Translated segments of Reviews:
“Timeout,” April 2005, by Oshra Shwartz.
…The author S. Yizhar, reading directly to the camera, provides a rich and wonderful reading of the first chapter of his book “Mikdamot”. His words weave images of geographic and human landscape that create a beautiful and mesmerizing visual interpretation. Anat Even, who filmed herself, stresses the potential for political interpretation of his text while leaving vast enough space for the viewers’ interpretation….
“Haaretz Supplemnet,” April 2005, by Meron Rapoport.
…Anat Even reveals that her central theme was “to touch the Zionist project” via Similansky’s (S.Yizhar’s) text. After documenting the here-and-now of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in her previous films, she wanted to “begin to deal with its sources,” she says. Further, she says, “I could not avoid reading S. Izhar text as a political text.” The result is a very unconventional film…
“Faces" - A Periodical about culture, society and education.” May 2005, written by Aida Nasrala.
…It is difficult to define this film or to locate it generically. While it could be video-art, documentary or experimental film, its boundaries are indistinct. The film undoes the Zionist mythic vision, questioning its narrative, which generated the becoming of the state of Israel. Even’s film does not presume to provide the answers to the conflict but rather to re-animate the conflict through a collective historical memory of the problematic terms of the Zionist narrative…