Call me sentimental, but I prefer those big fat movies that celebrate the glory of Israel.
Pass the popcorn for epics like Paul Newman in “Exodus,” and Kirk Douglas in “Cast a Giant Shadow.”
I am still surprised to find that the screenplay for Leon Uris’s “Exodus” was written by Dalton Trumbo, a diehard leftist. I guess leftists were different back then. They had a heart. Nor was Trumbo Jewish, and I shudder to think how “Exodus” would have come out in the hands of a Jewish screenwriter.
That’s where we seem to be with famed Israeli writer/director, Joseph Cedar. In partnership with another Israeli, and a Palestinian Arab, and through Israel’s Channel 12 Television, we get an HBO series titled, “Our Boys,” a real downer, and shown in 10 parts, so that not just once, but 10 times viewers across the world get to watch a Jewish filmmaker lick the dust and blaspheme his own people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the production “anti-Semitic,” and apparently that is a justified rebuke and review.
It’s about the events of 2014, first when three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists; followed by one Arab allegedly murdered by three Israelis. Never mind that Muslim terrorism is an everyday event, in Israel, and around the world, and that a single act of Jewish misbehavior of that kind happens maybe once every 20, 30, 40 years.
That’s enough for Cedar to question Israeli values, then darken Israeli society entirely. One false move is enough to tip the scales in favor of the Arab cause. That’s the movie.
I assume funding was no problem once word got out that a top Israeli film director had a film in the works that is sensitive to the Arabs and brutal to the Jews.
(Here’s the twist: Moses meets Pharaoh, and Pharaoh is the hero. Think about it, Mr. DeMille.)
What is it about our crowd that compels them to do this? I have yet to figure this out. I doubt that Cedar’s Arab partner would even think of going rogue against his fellow Arabs. He wouldn’t dare, and they don’t do this anyway.
Nobody does this. Nobody else in the world. No, we do this, and the artistic backstabbers are comparatively small in number, true, but big in cultural clout.
This is why I curb the cheers for any news about any Israeli film being considered for an Academy Award.
Chances are it’s entirely critical and lopsided in favor of Israel’s enemies, worthy of a Korach Award; the envelope please. In fact, Joseph Cedar has won many laurels for his films.
Some of them are really good. I liked his “Footnote,” an intelligent study of fathers and sons, and what happens when both grapple for the same literary prize. I assumed that this was where this filmmaker was heading, good, sharp, thoughtful, polished renderings, and even suspenseful until the end.
Good theater. Quirky and edgy enough to qualify as truly artistic.
Then came “Norman,” which I also liked, if not as much, but still, creative. This starred Richard Gere, a terrific actor and anti-Semite.
Gere’s excuse is that he is totally clueless about the heart and soul of the Jewish State. Joseph Cedar, an Orthodox Jew, he calls himself, has no such excuse. Shame on him.
New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.
He is the author of the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal.” His Holocaust to Montreal memoir “Escape from Mount Moriah” has been honored from page to screen at CANNES. His Inside Journalism thriller, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” is being prepared for the movies. Contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Website: www.jackengelhard.com