[ilds] The screening of Judith at the 30th International Haifa Film Festival (a bit long)

Marc Piel marc at marcpiel.fr
Thu Oct 16 03:13:21 PDT 2014


Were you not struck by the caricatures of the british?

Envoyé de mon iPad

> Le 15 oct. 2014 à 22:11, Rony Alfandary <alfandary at gmail.com> a écrit :
> 
> 
>  Hello all,
> Here are my  general and personal impressions of the film and its screening.
> 1. The formal occasion for the screening was the 50th anniversary of its production date. it was Judith's producer's son, Kurt Unger, who brought the date to the attention of the festival organizers. he was present at the screening and carried a moving speech before the show. He was 16 years old at the time of the filming and worked as a teaboy. incidentally, Kurt Unger also produced a film version of Pope Joan in 1972. there were about 60 people present at the screening and a  small reception was held afterwards.
> 2. Lawrence Durrell was not the main protagonist of the evening and in fact most people I spoke to at the reception made the familiar error of thinking him to be his brother Gerald. The main "protagonist" of the evening was the fact that it was the first international film produced by a Hollywood studios, Paramount, in the young State of Israel. the budget at the time was , and perhaps still is relatively, huge - 5 million $. I did mention to several people, including Unger, that the novel form of Judith was published recently by ILDS . so maybe an interest in that has been kindled...
> 3. Much was spoken about Sophia Loren's presence and personality in the film and location. apparently, her presence in Israel in those days caused quite a stir and many israeli ministers and army generals visited the film location looking for her... nobody mentioned that Durrell himself was around too.
> 4. the film itself . I don't know how many of you actually saw the film. i was quite fascinated by it. once you withhold your judgment and suspend all, or most, of your critical faculties, it is quite an enjoyable film. it is filmed well and the story is quite gripping eventhough its adherence to credible historical fact is very shaky and naive at best.  it portrays the days leading to Israel's declaration of independence and the beginning of the 1948 war in very stark and heroic colours, as perhaps was done in war films of that time anyhow.many of the actors in the cast are israeli actors who since became quite well known. overall, the acting is convincing with the exception of lovely Loren. I will write about her depiction of Judith in a bit. the film is set in Kibbutz Shamir in the North and also in Haifa and it is very illuminating to see those locations as shot in 1964.
> 5. The main thing that got my attention was Judith's character as portrayed by Loren. Clearly, she was the wrong actress, wonderful as she is, to portray the character of a Holocaust survivor who survived the camps. she is just too full of life....still, it was curious to notice again that her character was portrayed as  a woman who has lost a son, apparently, and who is tormented by that (though towards the end of the film there is hope that her son is alive after all). this immediately made me think of Justine and her preoccupation with her missing son. clearly this was something that preoccupied Durrell enough to keep cropping up in his work. in my Ph.D. theses, I made a claim, unproven as yet, that this preoccupation related to Durrell's sense of being lost himself as a son to his mother when he was made to leave india and go to a boarding school in England.
> 6. I was also left with thinking about Durrell's preoccupation with israel and the fate of the Jewish people, which has been discussed here and may well be firmly related, as Haag claimed, with his relationship with Eve.
> 7. Overall, a very moving experience. I thought about the members of ILDS and wished you were there with me.
> Rony
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Rony Alfandary, Ph.D.
> Clinical Social Worker
> Postgraduate Program
> of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
> School of Social Work
> Bar-Ilan University
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