Monday, August 2, 2010

Samuel Maoz at the Sarajevo Talent Campus

Within the Talent Campus programme, participants had the opportunity to see Golden Lion winning movie "Lebanon" by Israeli director Samuel Maoz, and to attend a session entitled "From Personal Experience of Director to the Golden Lion" in the presence of Samuel Maoz, David Silber (producer) and Katriel Schory (executive director of the Israel Film Fund).

"Lebanon" is the personal story of Samuel Maoz and was a necessity to make, explains the director, a need to find some understanding. It took Maoz twenty five years to deal with the issues he experienced as a soldier during the first Lebanon war. When he first tried to write the script in 1988, Maoz explains that the first memory that came to his mind was the burn of flesh, which made him back off. Maoz felt the need to process the story almost in a mathematical way and told himself that as long as he could smell it, he wasn't ready to write his film. It's in 2006, during the second Lebanon war, that he decided he was ready: he tried to smell again but couldn't.

The only way to deliver war, according to Maoz, is through a very strong experience, and that's how he decided to set his film inside the tank. The aim of Maoz was to make the audience feel the war, to see the victims staring back at us. That's where the text becomes an ennemy, says Maoz: how to write such extreme feelings? He therefore decided to trust the body language, the eye. After twenty five years, Maoz wrote the script in four weeks.

Samuel Maoz went to Rotterdam to sell his story to producers. After having told it twenty, forty times, he would look at himself in the mirror and think: "you're a whore!" but then, laughing, Maoz adds,"at least I'm a whore who likes his job!"

Reactions to the film differed between older and younger generations in Israel. Some older generation people would say not to show this movie or mothers won't send their children to war. But reviews were good in Israel, although the audience feelings were rather mixed. According to Maoz, "Lebanon" appeals to the human and this why it works.


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