Filming in Israel

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  • December 21, 2014

Camera crew in Israel, shooting the Making off of the film “Disengagement” (Part 1)

In 2007 I was invited by the Cultural Department of the Austrian television (ORF) to film materials for their culture magazine about the film “Disengagement” by director Amos Gitai.

The piece was staged by Gabriele Flossman who came from Vienna for that purpose.   The film “Disengagement” was shot by Austrian photographer Christian Bergr, famous for shooting mainly with natural light and little use of artificial lighting. During filming, I got to know Berger and found him a charming person in addition to being an outstanding professional.

The film that boasted big names including Juliette Binoche and Jeanne Moreau was partly filmed in France and its main part was shot in Israel in an aria resembling the Gaza Strip lands evacuated by Israel in 2005.

The film consists of two parts: In the first part we meet Anne (Juliette Binoche) with her adopted brother (Liron Levo), an Israeli police officer. He comes to Avignon, in France, to their father’s funeral.  Following the meeting Anna decides to visit Israel to meet her daughter abandoned by her 20 years ago.

In the second part of the film, the two brothers come to Israel at the time of the disengagement from the Gaza strip.  Levo joins his police unit evacuating the settlers from the Gaza Strip and Binoche happens to come to the same settlement to discover that her daughter has grown to be a religious settler who acts as a kindergarten teacher in the settlement (Dana Evgi).

It should be noted that the director Amos Gitai normally does not like video crews walking around on his set, but the fact that his main camera man was Austrian Christian Berger and it was agreed that the material I shoot will be used for the official Making Off of the film allowed us to work in relative freedom. (That at least was what we understood…)

As we arrived on the set while preparing our gear my eye suddenly caught, a figure of a woman dressed in jeans and a white tank top. Without hesitation I picked up the camera, placed it on my shoulder, and caught the image of this beautiful figure with my long zoom lens.

A few seconds passed until I realized that the women that I shot was shouting “AMOS THEY ARE FILMING ME” and that it was not part of the film. It was the famous actress Juliette Binoche who was furious at me filming her without telling her in advance.

Next thing I remember was that Amos the director was shouting at me, while explaining we can shoot on his set only when he allows us to do so.

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