Sitting at a French Cafe in Westwood, Eitan Gorlin comes across as the very antithesis of the Hollywood self-promoter. The writer-director of "The Holy Land" has indeed kept such a low profile that, during months of inquiries, his name drew an absolute blank among Israel film mavens in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.
But the debut feature by this unknown has already won remarkable recognition in America, including an Independent Spirit nomination for Gorlin as "Someone to Watch."
The first images of Ed Solomon's thought-provoking film, "Levity," came to the writer-director while tutoring in a maximum-security youth prison in Calabasas two decades ago. "One inmate kept a photograph of the boy he had shot, and he kept touching it, fingering it," he said, speaking quietly and intensely in a Santa Monica cafe on a recent afternoon. "He was struggling to understand that it was a human life he had taken, but he was only 17 and serving the first year of a life sentence. And that haunted me. I began wondering, 'What would he be like as an adult? Where would he go if he were let out of prison and what would he do with the photograph?'"
What's in a Jewish name?
Everything, suggests "The Royal Tenenbaums" writer-director Wes Anderson.
Peter Berg's "Very Bad Things," the tale of a Las Vegas bachelor party gone terribly wrong, is the season's most twisted black comedy.