Homeland and Exile
Cinema of Amos Gitai
Pera Film in collaboration with the Institut français and the Consulate General of Israel present the program Homeland and Exile: Cinema of Amos Gitai. The program, which showcases seven films by Gitai, also presents the unique opportunity of a Masterclass with the famous director.
Born in 1950, and best known to the public for his film Kippur, shown at Cannes in 2000, the Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai bases his work to a large extent on personal experience, including the Yom Kippur war and other historic events in Israel. Gitai began making short experimental works with a super-8mm camera while studying architecture. Gitai brought his camera along while serving as a soldier during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and from his experiences filming on and off the battlefield arose a commitment to making films and videos about the deep complexities of contemporary Israel, anti-Semitism, and the fluid nature of borders. Early in his film career, Gitai made controversial documentaries for Israeli television, including 1980's "House," about the politically driven changes a single residence in Jerusalem undergoes over the years, and 1982's "Field Diary," about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Gitai has also expanded the frontiers of nonfiction filmmaking with a series of documentaries that are as mutable as the shifting realities the artist records.
Today, Gitai’s art – not just his films – has attained a profound maturity as he continues to explore themes that have accompanied his rich career as a director in other disciplines such as photography. His images oscillate between personal and collective memory. Taken in the moment, and with all its emotions, they are like an improvised autobiography, becoming, with hindsight, testimony to a shared reality. The coherence and evolution of his work are now evident through the diversity of the media he uses, constituting a complex mosaic whose guiding thread is essentially biographical. Major retrospectives of his work have been shown at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Lincoln Center in New York and the British Film Institute in London.