Between Both Worlds



By: ELAD BENARI  
Published: April 25th 2010
in Culture » Movies

Igal Hecht
Pic: Igal Hecht
Igal Hecht with cameraman Lior Cohen
Pic: Igal Hecht
The Story of Furious Pete official poster
Pic: G.I. Productions

Hecht describes himself as a “couch surfer” when he films in Israel. He works with a very low budget and lives out of his suitcase while in Israel, literally moving from one friend’s couch to another as he travels the country preparing his films. “I prefer to spend what little I have to pay my crew,” he explained. He uses the term ‘crew’ but he is really referring to one individual, Lior Cohen, who is his cameraman in Israel. Together they have done about 16 films. “He’s an amazing individual and I truly enjoy working with him.”

 

He describes Israel as a “schizophrenic country” and explains that he feels that Israelis simply do not know what they want. “On the one hand the Israelis say they’re Jewish, but on the other hand they say they’re secular. On the one hand they love Israel, but on the other hand they want a two-nation state. You’ve got the ‘state of Tel Aviv’ which is closed to outsiders, and you’ve got the ‘right-wing state’. I personally have no problems with settlers, but my feelings about Israel are that everyone is always against one another. It’s always been like that in Israel but it’s felt now more than ever.”

 

Hecht identifies with the common Israeli belief that those who live in the Diaspora should not criticize Israel. “As an individual, not as an Israeli or a Jew, I have the right to express an opinion on any issue,” he says. “I do not have the privilege of using my Judaism to legitimize one opinion or another. I want to express an opinion as a Jew, not as an Israeli citizen. I can go live in Israel and then express an opinion, be it left or right. I respect the rights of Israelis who live in Israel, be it left-wingers or right-wingers, to express their opinion. But to live in the Diaspora, sit in Aroma in the Promenade and criticize Israel, is hypocrisy in the full sense of the word.”

 

When asked how, holding these opinions, he can make films which express a political opinion about Israel while living in the Diaspora, Hecht responds: “I know that I’m the biggest hypocrite in the world. Here I am making a film about the Israeli flag, I go around Israel for six months holding the flag, and then I go back to Canada to edit the film. I’m totally aware of the fact that I’m a hypocrite and I don’t try to hide it.”

 

Hecht emphasizes that he cannot come to terms with his hypocrisy. “It’s very hard to come to terms with it, but that’s my reality. To get up now and leave Canada and my career after having lived here for 22 years is impossible. I don’t think I could have produced 43 films in Israel at the age of 32. I don’t think it’s possible to do so in Israel.”

 

Despite it all, most of Hecht’s films are political and he describes himself as “a very political person.” He loves politics and particularly films which are controversial. “I have no problem expressing an opinion in my films, if I feel that I should express one,” he explains. At times he simply brings to the camera all the different opinions and lets them speak for themselves, and at other times his films will express one opinion.

 

One of the things he has learned to do is to not only be behind the camera but to place himself in the films when necessary. This realization came when he filmed My Flag, a film in which Hecht travelled from one end of Israel to the other and asked Israelis one simple question: ‘What does the Israeli flag mean to you?’ This was the first time Hecht appeared in the film itself, a technique he plans on using again.

Related articles: (igal hecht, chutzpa productions, g.i. productions, furious, pete, films)

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