Israeli-French filmmaker Amos Gitai was recently honored in Mexico. Gitai received the National Cinematheque Medal “for his great artistic work” and the Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City hosted a retrospective of 25 of his movies, including both feature films and documentaries.
The filmmaker traveled to Mexico for the initiative and attended the opening night of the retrospective screening “Laila in Haifa.”
Born in Haifa in 1950, Gitai can boast a unique five-decade-long career. His movies competed at the most prestigious film festivals in the world, including Cannes and Venice, and he also receive a UNESCO award.
In Mexico, Gitai expressed appreciation for the retrospective (which was carried out in cooperation with IFAL - Institut français d'Amérique latine) highlighting the challenges of such a project, and praising the work of film libraries.
"The combination of different platforms has made it easier for people to watch movies,” he said in an interview, “but it also changed the experience of cinema as something collective.”
“The pandemic had a lot to do with it, but now that traditional cinema is coming, we're going to see what happens,” he added, expressing confidence that cinematheques will continue to play an important role in the world of cinema.
Gitai also talked about his new project, a series inspired by letters written by his late mother over the course of her life, spanning 100 years.
"She was a feminist, she was a non-religious woman, and we really enjoyed talking, especially about these letters,” he recalled. “We used to argue about them, and sometimes we had disagreements, but always polite ones. I discovered a lot about her, she was a great inspiration.”
"She was born in Tel Aviv, and at the age of 18 she felt that Tel Aviv was too provincial. It was in 1929," he said, explaining that he is already working on the script of the series. "She and two other girls got a ticket to Vienna and met Sigmund Freud, and in 1932 she went to Berlin, where she attended a speech by Hitler in Alexanderplatz, and she had a good idea to return to Israel.”
In Mexico City, the director also revealed that he has started to work on a new movie.