A group of hotshot Hollywood television executives sit around a table sipping Evian water, working their cellphones and bemoaning the lack of fresh ideas for a series to pull their network out of the cellar.
The Israeli film, "Beaufort," has earned international recognition for its unvarnished portrayal of men at war and for its acting, directing and cinematography. But the movie is even more remarkable for what it tells us about the inner strength of the embattled country in confronting the vulnerabilities of its most revered institutions, even while the wounds of the first and second Lebanon wars are still fresh.
Report from Oscar night including a discussion of "Beaufort," the first Israeli film to be among the five finalists for Best Foreign Film in 23 years.
One of the bonuses of living in exile is that you can see Israeli society more clearly, one lunch, party, speech or cappuccino at a time. When I'm in the Holy Land, I lose myself in a noisy, beautiful, hectic, joyful and soulful blur.It's as if I'm inside a boat in a stormy sea. Here in the Diaspora, Israel comes at you in neat little waves. Over the past month, I've had encounters with four passionate Israelis, and each, in their own way, has helped me make sense of the craziness of what it is to live the Zionist dream.
Oshri Cohen, the star of Beaufort, is caught off guard by me, Orit, the relentless paparazza, as he leaves for LA to attend the Oscars
After some relatively lean years, Hollywood's Jewish talent made a solid showing as nominations for the 80th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday. The biggest winners were brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, whose thriller "No Country for Old Men" earned seven nominations, while Daniel Day-Lewis, son of British Jewish actress Jill Balcon, qualified in the best actor category.
Three of the 63 foreign language films in this year's Oscar race are on Jewish/Israeli themes, and all three have made the cut to qualify among the nine semi-finalists.
The three are Israel's entry "Beaufort," Austria's "The Counterfeiters" and Brazil's "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation."
In less than 48 hours, I visited Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and Tibet, and Beaufort Castle in southern Lebanon. The unlikely juxtaposition was the result of attending screenings of quite different films: the flashy Hollywood premiere of "The Bucket List," followed by an understated private screening of indie Israeli film, "Beaufort."
The story of two movies vying to represent Israel in the Oscar race is full of intrigue, confusion, backbiting and alleged skullduggery.