Amos Gitai: In the Free Zone

GreenCineStaff's picture

By Caveh Zahedi

"From the very beginning of my work as a filmmaker, I was independent"

Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (who interviewed Henry Jaglom awhile back to very engaging affect) talked with Israeli director Amos Gitai, who has made the personal political repeatedly in his ever-increasing filmography.

On Sunday, July 23 at the Castro Theatre, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) will celebrate the cinematic vision of Gitai by awarding him the 2006 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award.

"Gitai is one of those rare filmmakers who are equally accomplished in documentary and narrative forms. I can think of no other filmmaker whose work personifies freedom of expression more than Gitai, both in terms of his courage in tackling complex issues in documentaries and the innovative structure of his narratives," commented SFJFF Program Director Nancy Fishman.

Caveh Zahedi's discussion with Gitai occurred as things reached a crisis point in the Middle East, a subject they arrive at near the end of their edifying conversation.


Caveh: How did you end up studying architecture at Berkeley?

Gitai: I was finishing up my degree in Architecture, which I had begun studying at the main school of architecture in Israel. I was following in the footsteps of my father who was also an architect. He was a Bauhaus architect.

Does that mean that he had grown up in Germany?

Yes. He escaped when Hitler came to power and came to Israel, in the mid-thirties. But then he died and I started to study architecture. Later on, as part of my studies, I came to Berkeley to do my PhD.

So he died while you were studying architecture?

Yes, he died just as I was just beginning my studies.

Did you feel some kind of obligation to him to go into architecture?

Yeah.

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