Exils et territoires : le cinéma d'Amos Gitai

Serge Toubiana, Baptiste Piégay
Arte Editions / Cahiers du cinéma, Paris, 2003
200 pages
Buy this book

About this book

NB: this book has been translated into English: The Cinema of Amos Gitai

The success of Kadosh in 1999 has enabled the public to discover Amos Gitai. Since his beginnings in 1980, critics have always paid attention to the work of this filmmaker, and the media has contributed greatly to his becoming known, especially since he himself incarnates Israeli cinema. Since Kadosh, Gitai has made film upon film, maintaining his rhythm: Kippur in 2000 (an autobiographical film that portrays his own experience as a soldier), Eden in 2001 (an adaptation of an Arthur Miller novel), the Kedma in 2002 (about European immigrants who escaped the Shoah in 1948) and Alila in 2003 (on the daily life in Tel Aviv today).

The journey of Amos Gitai has in no way taken a straight or predictable trajectory. At the time of his first documentaries (House in 1980 and Field Diary in 1982), serious encounters with censors forced him to leave Israel. His years of exile, mainly in Paris, offered him the possibility of experimenting, traveling, setting his vision upon the world: America, Asia, Europe. But the filmmaker feels deeply that it is in Israel that he has to film above all. In the middle of the 1990s, he began his City Trilogy: Devarim, shot in Tel Aviv (1995), Yom Yom in Haifa (1998), and Kadosh in Jerusalem (1999). Half of this book is made up of interviews with Amos Gitai. There, one discovers the biographical and artistic trajectory of a filmmaker who alternates bewteen fiction and documentary. The rest of the book is an essay by Serge Toubiana, assisted by Baptiste Piégay, which provides the reader with a few paths for the analysis of a body of work that already contains around fifty films. Each of Amos Gitai's films poses questions of Jewish identity, of territory, of the mythological imagination that is based on fundamental axes - first of all, the Bible, but also the political and geographical reality of the Middle East. These issues, so currently relevant, are handled by Amos Gitai with a freedom of spirit and a courage that does not waver. The work is followed by a detailed filmography.

Serge Toubiana is the director of the Cinémathèque française. He was the chief editor or Cahiers du cinéma from 1981 to 2001.
Baptiste Piégay is a critic for Cahiers du cinéma.

Table of Contents


I. Entretien avec Amos Gitai
Les années de formation
House, un film interdit
House et Wadi, vingt ans plus tard...
Journal de campagne : vers l'affrontement
Un nouveau cycle documentaire
Fictions d'exil
La trilogie des villes
A propos de l'assassinat d'Yitzhak Rabin: L'Arène du meurtre
Le cinéma israélien : une utopie ?
Ma guerre de Kippour
A propos de Eden
A propos de Kedma

II. Territoires documentaire
Filmer un microcosme (House, 1980)
Filmer l'occupation (Journal de campagne, 1982)
La trilogie de Wadi (Wadi, 1981 ; Wadi, dix ans après, 1991 ; Wadi Grand Canyon, 2001)
Voyages en Amérique (In Search of Identity, 1980 ; American Mythologies, 1981)
Voyages en Asie : contre la mondialisation (Ananas ; Bangkok-Bahrein, 1984)
Filmer la musique (Brand New Day, 1987) (Baptiste Piégay)
Deux films contre l'extrême droite en Europe (Dans la vallée de la Wupper, 1993 ; In the Name of the Duce, 1994)
L'assassinat d'Yitzhak Rabin (L'Arène du meurtre, 1996)
Les traces de la guerre (Kippour, souvenirs de guerre, 1997) (Baptiste Piégay)
Le cinéma, un art du dialogue (Guerre et paix à Vesoul, 1997)
L'image, pour creuser la mémoire (Une maison à Jérusalem, 1998)

III. Fiction d'exil
La trilogie de l'exil (Esther, 1985 ; Berlin-Jérusalem, 1989 ; Golem, l'esprit de l'exil, 1991) (Baptiste Piégay)
La trilogie des villes (Devarim, 1995 ; Yom Yom, 1998 ; Kadosh, 1999)
Vue sur la guerre (Kippour, 2000) (Baptiste Piégay)
Défaite d'une utopie (Eden, 2001) (Baptiste Piégay)
La question du territoire (Kedma, 2002)
La comédie humaine (Alila, 2003)