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Brown, H. (2002). The Ghost Landscape of Israeli Movies. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 4(3):365-369.

(2002). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(3):365-369

The Ghost Landscape of Israeli Movies

Hannah Brown

What is astounding about Israeli movies in recent years is their nearly total irrelevance. While most of the Israeli movie-going public consists of teenagers who would rather see a big-budget Hollywood action movie than anything else (which is probably true of the movie-going public nearly anywhere in the world), there are usually a few serious directors working who try to use their films to make some kind of commentary on the time and place in which they live. And the more thoughtful films by these directors usually find a small audience among film buffs and intellectuals. This is simply not the case here in Israel. Most movies made in the last few years so resolutely ignore the realities of life here, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or deal with it in the most roundabout way, that seeing them, you would have the impression that the problem simply did not exist. But when you remove all hint of the conflict from all of the movies, you're left with … not much, as it turns out. Israeli movies (and when I use this term, I mean movies by Jewish Israeli filmmakers) exist in a strange ghost landscape, and do not even succeed as entertainment for the people by and about whom they are made, for the most part, fashion-conscious young Tel Aviv residents.

Only those with some kind of professional interest in the movie industry tend to see most Israeli movies. It's gotten so bad that at the last Israeli Oscar ceremony, held in November 2001, many of the winners took the opportunity, since the ceremony was broadcast on national television, to plead with the public to actually come out and see Israel films. Why is it that Israel produces such uninspired movies? After all, its novelists, such as A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz and David Grossman, are among the finest in the world. Societies in turmoil tend to create great movies and inspire great moviemakers.

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