Israeli director tapped for global film project

When Mexican screenwriter and director Guillermo Arriaga asked Israeli director Amos Gitai to collaborate with him on his new international project “Words with Gods” a few months back, Gitai was dumbfounded.

”I’m not a religious man,” Gitai explained.

Gitai was approached to take part in the global project along with 10 other world- renowned film directors, including Serbia’s Emir Kusturica, India’s Mira Nair and Australia’s Warwick Thornton.

Gitai’s film is currently being shot in Jaffa and features male and female Israeli actors who play the role of Amos the prophet.

Gitai is dedicating the film to actor, director and founder of the Freedom Theater, Juliano Mer Khamis, who was shot to death in Jenin in April 2011.

“We need brave people whose work will also address the critical dimension, with all due respect to chasing after titles and honors. Culture receives meaning, in the deeper sense of the word, only when it expresses criticism. That’s the biggest homage a creator can offer the society in which he lives in,” Gitai said.

The film includes Hebrew and Arabic dialogue, while the soundtrack has been edited from the third part of Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service), a piece written by Jewish-American composer Ernest Bloch. It was composed in 1933 to the words of a Shabbat Hebrew prayer famous in Reform synagogue in the United States

Arriaga’s global project is expected to wrap up by summer’s end. The premiere will most likely take place at the Venice International Film Festival, which starts Aug. 29.

 “Words with Gods” is part of a much- larger project initiated by Arriaga, called “Heartbeat of the World,” which deals with four issues: religion, sexual orientation, politics drug addition. —