November 16, 2018

‘Footnote’ could make this Israel’s year to win [VIDEO]

For Israelis, winning the country’s first Oscar would be akin to scoring its first Olympic gold medal, which happened at the 2004 Games in Athens.

“If ‘Footnote’ gets the Academy Award for best foreign language film, the reaction would be tremendous,” Katriel Schory said recently, on the phone from Tel Aviv. “We need any piece of good news, and it would cheer everybody up.”

Schory has been active in the Israeli movie industry for four decades and has served as executive director of the Israel Film Fund for a dozen years. His knowledge of his country’s film evolution and current status is considered to be unequaled.

“Footnote,” by director-writer Joseph Cedar, has won a place among the five Oscar finalists, in competition against entries from 63 countries. This despite a highly unorthodox cinematic theme — a rivalry between two esteemed talmudic scholars, who are also father and son.

The film’s toughest rivals are likely to be Iran’s “A Separation” and Poland’s “In Darkness.”

In the first few decades of the state’s existence, Israeli filmmakers created some very appealing movies — including the unforgettable “Sallah” in 1964 — but, in general, the pictures lacked the professional sheen and production values to compete on the international level.

This situation has changed drastically in the last dozen years, as seen in a string of awards won by Israeli movies at prestigious international film festivals. Even more impressive, in four of the last five years, the Israeli entries have made the Academy Awards’ list of five finalists, though not yet grasping the golden statuette itself.

Story continues after the jump