Amos Kollek's tells story of tense father-son relationship

Society Materials 14 February 2008 22:22 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Tzach, a young Israeli, is in a desperate mood. He has been thrown out of the army, lost his mother and has developed a hateful relationship with his father. His sense of despair leads him to accept a lift from a group of Palestinians.

"He decides to take a ride with the devil," said Jerusalem-born director Amos Kollek at a press conference Thursday marking the premiere of the film, Restless at the Berlin Film Festival.

Restless also draws on the story of Kollek's own complicated relationship both with his famous father, the popular former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek and his native Israel. Amos Kollek now lives in New York.

Like Tzach in his film, Kollek said he had both a yearning for his father and felt anger towards him.

"He was the person the people always loved," he said, "but he was less my father.

"I think that is there a lot of me emotionally in both the son and father (characters in the film)," Kollek said.

The 61 year-old Kollek said in a sense he felt a great of closeness to his father.

But he said that Israel and not his family was his father's priority. Teddy Kollek died just shortly before Amos Kollek started filming Restless.

While there is no official tribute, the Berlinale is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel by screening a raft of new movies from Israeli directors with Restless one of 21 films competing for the festival's top honours, a Golden Bear.

Restless is set in both Israel and New York where Tzach's father, Moshe an Israeli writer who left his country 20 years ago, is living.

Broke and living illegally in New York, Moshe takes a job reading his poetry in a bar in New York popular with Israeli Americans which gives him a platform to vent his frustrations and anger about Israel and Israelis.

Kollek said he wrote much of the poetry read by Moshe, which is played by leading Israeli actor Moshe Ivgy, but that it does not necessarily reflect his own position.

Speaking at Thursday's press conference, Kollek said Israel has not disappointed him and had not disappointed the world either, as the Moshe character said in the film.

Despite the criticism contained in his movie, Kollek described Israel as a "miracle of the last century."

But he said it is "the political situation which makes it impossible to create a real government than can govern."

Palestinians and Israelis could live together, he said, if they "got rid of the stupid notion that they have to fight."

In Restless, Moshe is suddenly forced to confront his past after the son he never knew, Tzach, played by Israeli singer-actor Ran Danker, contacts him following the death of his mother and Moshe's former wife.

Kollek admits that Restless represents something of a turning point for him with many of his previous films, such as Fast Food Fast Women, Queenie in Love and Sue, revolving around women characters.

"I think I have resisted for many years making films about men as I had an easier relationship with my mother," Kollek said. "My father was an intimating figure."

"This time around I decided to try to confront this thing of dealing with men," he said.

However, the sense of frustration about Israel and the sense of personal turmoil that it causes characters such as Moshe also emerged from Ivgy's comments at the press conference.

The Moshe character feels "frustrated with the potential of this country," said Ivgy. "You live in this frustration. You live in this contradiction. When you live in a diaspora you feel it worse," he said.

"I would expect more, much more from my country then just trying to survive in the country," said Ivgy.