Around the remote

Documentaries and stories for everyone are coming up.

War Diaries (photo credit: Courtesy)
War Diaries
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Readers of YNET know all about Efrat Dotan and Matanel Biton, two 20something reporters who have gotten interviews with just about everyone who’s anyone in Israel – including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and supermodel Bar Refaeli. That the two reporters happen to have special needs is an important part of their story, but not all of it, by any means.
On September 19 at 9 p.m. on Channel 2, there is a documentary about these reporters, produced by Reshet and sponsored by Shalva, the Association for Mentally & Physically Handicapped Children in Israel. The extraordinarily charming and moving film, called Special Interview, focuses on their trip to Washington two years ago to try to interview President Barack Obama in order to lobby him to try to get Gilad Shalit released. I won’t give away whether or not they get that interview, but they did eventually get the interview they really wanted, with Gilad Shalit, and it’s the most moving few minutes of television you will see all year. The film includes the information that 50 percent of Israelis said they perceived mentally challenged people as dangerous and would not want to live near them. This film, which was directed by Nitzan Rosenberg, a born filmmaker, and produced by Asaf Finkelstein of Shalva, will most likely change more than a few minds.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, and there have been many programs that preceded the holiday itself commemorating the event.
But there is another series coming up on Channel One, War Diaries, produced by Keshet Broadcasting, which will be shown in two parts, on September 22 and September 29 at 10 p.m. These two parts give the historical background to the war and also cover the history of the war and its aftermath.
Part One covers the period from 1970 to October 1973, particularly the tension between Israel and Egypt and the build-up to the war.
Part Two, entitled “The Destruction of the Third Temple,” examines exactly what happened during the war, from October 7-22, and how it changed the political map of the Middle East.
These two parts make particularly riveting viewing for younger viewers who only know the vague facts about the war. These documentaries also cast light on the struggles that Egypt is undergoing now.
Eric Carle is an acclaimed and beloved children’s book author and illustrator, and his best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been translated into mor4e than 50 languages since its publication in 1969 (including Hebrew). His books, with their simple, short stories and extraordinarily appealing and well-crafted illustrations, lend themselves to being filmed. The Jim Jam Channel (Channel 89 on HOT and Channel 80 on YES) will be showing several filmed versions of his works on September 29 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
In addition to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, adaptations of the books The Very Quiet Cricket; Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me; I See a Song; and The Mixed-Up Chameleon will be broadcast. While each of these books creates a lovely world of its own, the adaptations of each are less than 10 minutes long. They also feature soothing and appropriate music.
Young children can learn a great deal from these books – my son learned basic math skills through a card game based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar – but more importantly, they will learn to love books from Carle’s works. Carle is an American artist now in his 80s who started out in advertising. His latest book is The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, an homage for children to the works of German artist Franz Marc.
While Argo won the Oscar this year for Best Film, Israelis have their own version of the Argo story. The film Operation Teheran, about how Israelis caught in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979 managed to escape, will be broadcast on Channel 1 on September 19 at 10 p.m. Israel had a long-standing relationship during the Shah’s reign, and there were embassy officials, Mossad agents, businessmen and teachers from Israel in Iran when the Ayatollah came to power.
The story of their escape is even more harrowing than the story told in Argo.