The story of Amos Oz's youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell become the stories we live.
Based on the international best-seller by Amos Oz, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS is the story of his youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell, become the stories we live.Written by
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Natalie Portman's directing debut shows promise for more
"A Tale of Love and Darkness" (2015 release from Israel; 98 min.) brings the story of Amos Oz. As the movie opens, we see young Amos and his mom, who is telling bedtime stories. We are informed on the screen that it is "Jerusalem, 1945, under British Mandate"> Amos and his parents are trying to build a life , unsure of what is to come. "There is enough room in this land for two peoples", comments young Amos when he meets a young Arab girl at a social gathering. Meanwhile, Amos' mom is starting to deal with with migraines. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: to state that this movie is a labor of love for Natalie Portman would be the understatement of the year. Not only did she write the script (based on the memoir of Amos Oz), she also stars (as Amos' mom), produces and directs. Yes, this is the directing debut of the talented actress, and it shows quite a bit of promise. The movie brings a good mix of what it was like to be in Jerusalem during 1945-1948, and what the O family endured in particular. The movie also serves as a coming-of-age tale for the young Amos, an only child surrounded by loving parents and family,I suppose that Portman could've easily decided to produce the movie in English, but instead she retained the Hebrew language (and being Jewish herself, already spoke some Hebrew but reportedly took significant language lessons so as to portray this role in pretty much impeccable Hebrew). Beware: if you think this is an 'action' movie (due to the 1948 war), you might be wrong. This is a slow-moving film (in the best possible way), focusing on the Oz family and their surroundings.
"a Tale of Love and Darkness" debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival to positive acclaim. Why it's take this long to reach US audiences, I have no idea but better late than never I suppose. The movie finally opened at my local art-house theater this weekend, and the Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at turned out to be a semi-private screening: there was only 1 other person in the theater. That is unfortunate, and I can only hope that as the movie becomes available on Amazon Instant Video and later on DVD/Blu-ray, it will find a larger audience, which by all means it deserves. I can't wait what Portman the director will do next. Meanwhile, if you are in the mood for an intriguing foreign film about a family in the middle of Israel's birth of a nation, I would readily recommend "A Tale of Love and Darkness".
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