Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mossad in the movies

I finally saw Munich, and well, whatever. It is to Walk on Water what Brokeback Mountain is to Yossi and Jagger. An overblown, overly obvious American telling of the same story with the same message, but with more histrionics and fewer cute Israeli actors. ("Jagger" aka Yehuda Levi makes a brief, far too brief, tragically not in briefs... appearance in Munich, proving once and for all that Levi is better-looking than Eric Bana, if not the entire rest of humanity. "Yossi"/Ohad Knoller is in the film as well according to IMDB, but that must have happened during one of the scenes during which I began to doze off).

Walk on Water, like Yossi and Jagger, was directed by Eitan Fox, and is thus immensely moving, pro-peace, and pro-beautiful men. My politics are probably slightly, just slightly, to Fox's right, but I don't hold that against him or his movies. The "why can't we all just get along"-ness is most apparent in Walk on Water, in which Lior Ashkenazi plays a Mossad agent who goes through a transformation not unlike the Eric Bana character's in Munich. But Fox, unlike Spielberg, doesn't try to tell the entire story of the Middle East in one movie, perhaps because he is himself from the region, but perhaps because he's just a different sort of director. Regardless of why this is the case, Fox's narrower politico-historical focus allows him to tell a more interesting story, with surprises, life-like characters, and one amazing scene in the Dead Sea mud.


Anonymous said...

"My politics are probably slightly, just slightly, to Fox's right"


You seem like a full-blown Jabotinsky-ist to me...

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

See above.

Anonymous said...

"Walk on Water, like Yossi and Jagger, was directed by Eitan Fox, and is thus immensely moving...."

Much as I usually respect your judgements, I found Walk on Water quite upsetting (and while immensely moving could be said to encompass "upsetting", I doubt that is what you meant). The film favored a certain morality over another: specifically, a Christian ethic of forgivness over a Jewish ethic in which vengence is legitimized, to put the matter rather crudely. It denied the justice of hunting the former Nazi, and while offering the same result, portrayed the proper response as the sort of merciful putting-him-out-of-his-pain that was done.

I was also annoyed by the end of the film. What deliverance does the hero find at the end: a very blond baby?! That left a bad taste in my mouth for obvious reasons: the Jew finding peace with a Christian woman and their Christian son--Please! Well, that a few other things besides (but this blog comment is long enough already).

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


I also disagreed with the film's message, and found parts of the movie moving and parts upsetting. I doubt Fox meant to embrace a specifically Christian morality-- since when does that include full-scale acceptance of homosexuality?-- but figured it was more of a plea for a kinder, gentler world. Not a a plea I found all that convincing, and not the way I'd like to see a kinder, gentler world achieved, but an understandable conclusion to come to, all the same, especially for left-wing, pro-peace Israeli audiences.

That said, I agree about the blond baby. That was super annoying on many levels, and did make me doubt the rest of the film.

Anonymous said...

"I doubt Fox meant to embrace a specifically Christian morality..."

Okay, that is a fair point. Let's just say it had strong Christian elements, especially with all the Jesus symbolism (walk on water and all). It was more of a melange of certain very thin pseudo-liberal European ideas floating around today (although that wouldn't quite be the technical definition.)

Anonymous said...

i saw you post in jewlicious. Anyway i just rented this video from Holyland on saint marks, and the most annoying thing about this film has not been mentioned. THE LEAD CHARACTER LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE STEVE CARELL!

am i wrong:

carell... ashkenazi?!?! you cannot tell

PetiteDov said...

The movie felt off for many reasons, but the blond baby sealed the deal for me. I really want to see a right-off center Israeli film. But Israeli filmakers seem to like to live in dream world of sunshine and rainbows.

Anonymous said...

HI, I came across your blog while surfing the net, you seem to be a big Yehuda Levi's fan. I will keep it short as my english is not all the great, but the latest news about him here in Israel is that he lives with his new girlfriend nenit tayeb and moved outta hertzliya and his latest T.V apperance was a show called travel in mexico it is similar to the surreal life in america.