Waltz With Bashir Does Not Win Oscar

A few minutes ago, Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman lost his bid for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Hebrew speaking Waltz With Bashir, an animated documentary film, or documation, was Israel’s eighth nomination in this category and while everybody here hoped it would be Israel’s first win – unfortunately that was not in the cards tonight. Previous Israeli nominees include:

Foreign Language Film Nominations:
Sallah (Sallah Shabati, 1964)
The Policeman (HaShoter Azoulay, 1971)
I Love You Rosa (Ani Ohev Otach Rosa, 1972)
The House on Chelouche Street (HaBayit Berechov Chelouche, 1973)
Operation Thunderbolt (Mivtsa Yonatan, 1977)
Beyond the Walls (MeAhorei HaSoragim, 1984)
Beaufort (2007)
Documentary Feature Nomination:
The 81st Blow (HaMakah Hashmonim V’Echad‎, 1974)
Best Actor Nomination:
Chaim Topol (as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof‎, 1971)

Here is Ari Folman sitting at a bar, drowning his sorrows, apparently holding someone else’s Oscar statuette (…yes, I manipulated the photo in advance):
Ari Folman Accepting Israel's First Academy Award For Waltz With Bashir

More on this on your mainstream media.


Israeli Film ‘Waltz with Bashir’ Nominated For An Academy Award

After winning numerous awards including a Golden Globe, Ari Folman’s documation ‘Waltz with Bashir’ has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Minutes ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made its announcement for the 81st Academy Awards ceremony, that will be held exactly one month from today, on February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Waltz with Bashir Nominated For An Oscar

Israeli Film ‘Waltz with Bashir’ Wins Golden Globe

An Israeli anti-war film wins a prestigious award amidst a war: Ari Folman‘s Waltz with Bashir received last night a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Some called it the first animated documentary, or documation, but as I mentioned before that is not the case.

The film is based on Folman’s own experiences as a 19-year-old IDF infantry soldier during the 1982 Lebanon War. American-Arab blog KABOBfest predicts that “in about 20 years, one of the Israeli soldiers currently partaking in the invasion of Gaza will make an award-winning film called ‘Waltz With Abbas’, recounting his experience in committing war crimes, with some psychoanalytic prelude that exonerates himself from responsibility for own action”.

Watch the trailer:

Watch writer/director Ari Folman’s acceptance speech:

I wanna dedicate this prize, as we promised to do, to the eight beautiful production babies who were born in our tiny studio in Tel Aviv during the making of Waltz with Bashir, four years – and I hope one day when they grow up they’ll watch this film together and they see the war that takes place in the film, it will look to them like an ancient video game that has nothing to do with their lives whatsoever. Thank you so much!
   – – Ari Folman, Golden Globe Awards, January 11, 2009

A True Israeli Does Not Evade the Real Issues

Instead of discussing the issues that lead to the ongoing decrease in army enrollment, the powers that be have decided to embark on a campaign that aims to shame Israelis that did not enlist, and emphasize the superficial shared experiences that connect Israelis who did serve.
Having served in the IDF myself, I think I earned the right to say I find this campaign to be quasi-fascist on one hand and super-shallow on the other – an all out war on secular middle-class Israelis.
Only in a newborn democracy would the government dare to attack a portion of its citizens without ever opening the subject for real debate: in the commercials you would not find a single governmentally-exempt Orthodox Jew, nor a single sexually-harassed female soldier, nor a single MoD-ignored PTSD veteran.

Here is one of the TV spots of this campaign:

Here is a spoof ad that was recently released by a group of brave Israelis (with less than brave acting skills) in an effort to open the subject for debate:

Hat tip to Mizbala.

He Raised His Finger, Pointed At The Photo And Said ‘I Want To Have This!’

Readers of my blog may have been wondering about the outcome of the Bread and Roses art sale I participated in. A couple of days ago I was quite taken aback by a phone call. It was the organizers of the charity auction calling to ask for my address, as they wanted to send me a cheque. You see, this specific charity event appealed to me, as aside from actually helping people in need, which is always nice, the organizers promised that the money collected from each artwork sold would be divided and 75% of it would be donated, while 25% were promised to be paid back to the artist.

Now, while receiving money is always fun, this cheque represents the first ever artwork of mine that was sold in an exhibit, by a stranger who actually raised his finger towards the wall, pointed to my work and said ‘I want to have this!’

The sold artwork is called ‘Jaffa Gate, Summer 2006‘ and it is a photo mosaic of one of the gates in the wall that surrounds the old city of Jerusalem, created using photos of the 119 fallen Israeli soldiers during the 2nd Lebanon War. The actual print size of the work is 80×60cm, which is important as it looks different from a distance and up close. Use the + zoom option to have a similar experience:


Yes, It Is Bread We Fight For – But We Fight For Roses, Too!

This coming Saturday one of my art works will be offered for sale at a charity art sale. Me and about two hundred other leading artists are participating in a one day public event that will hopefully result in a considerable monetary contribution to the Workers Advice Center‘s ‘Women and Work’ project which aims to help Arab women break the cycle of poverty.

You are cordially invited to spend your Oneg Shabbat gazing at contemporary art (mostly paintings and photos), and possibly buying an artwork, thus helping a worthy cause. Check out the (partial) online catalogue here.

Minshar Art School
18 David Chachami street

Saturday, November 10th, 2007
From 10am to 10pm


Bread And Roses Charity Art Sale - Invitation

…As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

Bread and Roses – James Oppenheim, 1911

It’s About Sovereignty, Stupid!

Shalom there people!

Over the pass week, some of you have expressed your concern over the current Israeli-Lebanon conflict, so I thought you might appreciate some words ‘from the front’.

The basic plot is not so easy to recap, as where do you start?
Do you start nine days ago when two Israeli soldiers patrolling the Israeli side of the border were kidnapped?
Do you start six years ago when Israel withdrew from south Lebanon, complying with all UN resolutions?
Or maybe sixty years ago when a Jewish state was born out of the need for a home for European refugees?

Since I would probably be suspected of favoring one side, I would let CNN tell the facts and stick to telling you about my own personal feelings:
I am sitting here in my living room, typing this email at 4am, while fighter jets can be heard taking off from a near by base. It’s a scary feeling to wake up one day and find out your countrymen are randomly dying in a cruel rocket lottery. When asking people for the latest news they reply ‘Nothing much. 70 rocket since this morning, but no one injured severely’ – I tell ya, it’s a whole other scale we are measuring bad news around here, and I can only assume it would take a stranger some time to get the hang of.
Most of the citizens are willing to bite their lips and suffer this ordeal, as they support the army in its attempt to reestablish our sovereignty. I guess peace is an impossible concept in this part of the world – and so, to quote an awful nineties dance track, my generation would settle for ‘You don’t f@#k me, I don’t f%$k you’ 🙂

I have to say, though, that it is quite refreshing to get some leeway from the world, especially from your [U.S.] government – I know many of you are critical of your leadership – I know I certainly am, but it seems that out of all the misery and all the bad things that happened after September 11th, there is a general sense around here that ‘the world finally understands it now’, after a long period of time of Israelis feeling like a reprover in the gate. That is, until tomorrow or early next week, when the world will decide it had enough and will force Israel to stop its military actions, accusing it of not being proportional with its reaction to the attacks. I tell ya, I have had it up to here with the PC terminology turning into PC actions… What is the current cost of human life these days?

Either way, since summarizing the Arab-Israeli conflict in an email is a bit presumptuous, if you are really interested in understanding this whole thing, I highly recommend a book by Alan Dershowitz (yes, the OJ lawyer) called ‘The Case For Israel‘ where he tackles all the questions and accusations this country regularly faces in the media. It’s a must read for those of you who might be confronted on campus and might not know all the facts.
For those on the run, I think reading ‘The Butter Battle Book‘ by Dr. Seuss might be a good start 🙂
I wish you all the best, and leave you with this quote from the TV series ‘The West Wing’ –

How about when we, instead of blowing Iraq back to the seventh century for harbouring terrorists and trying to develop nuclear weapons, we just imposed economic sanctions and were reviled by the Arab world for not giving them a global charge card and a free trade treaty? How about when we pushed Israel to give up land for peace? How about when we sent American soldiers to protect Saudi Arabia, and the Arab world told us we were desecrating their holy land? We’ll ignore the fact that we were invited. […]
I don’t remember having to explain to Italians that our problem wasn’t with them, but with Mussolini! Why
does the U.S. have to take every Arab country out for an ice cream cone? They’ll like us when we win!