The sharp, often hilarious satire that became the most successful film in Israeli history is about new immigrants Sallah and his family, who are left in a shack near their promised ... See full summary »
The sharp, often hilarious satire that became the most successful film in Israeli history is about new immigrants Sallah and his family, who are left in a shack near their promised apartment and are abandoned for months. A Yemenite Jewish family that was flown to Israel during "Operation Magic Carpet" - a clandestine operation that flew 49,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel the year after the state was formed - is forced to move to a government settlement camp. The patriarch of the family, portrayed by Chaim Topol, tries to make money and get better housing, in a country that can barely provide for its own and is in the midst absorbing hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Written by
Watching "Sallah Shabati" now, 38 years after it had been made, really amazes me when I come to think about the latest productions from Hollywood, and their huge budgets. In Israel of those times it was even difficult to obtain a suitable filming equipment; according to Ephraim Kishon, the director, there was only one camera available in the whole country. Kishon admitted he had no idea about how to make a film, therefore he surrounded himself with experts, such as Floyd Crosby the cinematographer. There was even an attempt to stop the film from being distributed internationally, due to It's 'poor technical quality'... Despite all that, "Sallah" became a domestic hit, and achieved international success also; it won several important awards, and was nominated for 'best foreign film' at the 1965 Academy Awards. Kishon, who by that time was already a well known writer, begun a second career as a film maker, Topol gained recognition as an international actor and went on to star in films such as "Cast a Giant Shadow" and "Fiddler on the Roof", and Menahem Golan (the film producer) established himself as a successful Hollywood producer and director. So, is it all about the money, or it is the talent we are looking for?
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