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By suggesting the unsayable—that Israel's founding myths are all about suicide—Avi Mograbi has produced one of the great essayistic films of modern times

By Mark Cousins   November 2006

Israel has not produced a single master filmmaker—no Leone, no Bergman, no Hitchcock. When I was writing my book The Story of Film, I wanted to include Israeli films but ended up deciding not to, just as I didn’t write about movies from my native Ireland. Neither country had contributed enough.

Over the years I’d seen decent Israeli movies about the class conflict between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, about generational conflict and identity crisis. I had liked films by Assi Dayan and, in particular, veteran documentarist Amos Gitai. Many of cinema’s great directors—Ernst Lubitsch, Billy Wilder, Abraham Polonsky, Steven Spielberg—have…

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