Close collaboration

The Women’s Festival in Holon pays tribute to US actress Anna Thomson and the work she has done with film director Amos Kollek.

'Bridgit' (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Recalling her first trip to Israel, actress Anna Thomson said, “I was seen as a hussy at the Wailing Wall.” In spite of that dubious distinction, Thomson has decided to come visit us again, this time for the Women’s Festival at the Holon Theater, which runs from March 9-12.
The festival, which is a mix of theater, film, music, and dance, will include a tribute to Thomson and her collaboration with Israeli director Amos Kollek.
Titled “Muse,” the program, which will be held on March 10, highlights the work the two have done together, including the films Bridget; Fast Food Fast Women; Fiona; and Sue, all films about troubled women. Thomson and Kollek will be present at a screening of Fast Food Fast Women. Kollek, the son of former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, has divided his time for the past 30 years between the US and Israel and has set many of his films in New York.
Speaking by telephone from her New York apartment, Thomson reminisced about the scandal she caused in the Old City, and her career as an actress in such films as Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven.
“I think it was around Passover,” said Thomson. “We [Amos Kollek and I] were filming some scenes of Bridget in Israel. We were at the Wailing Wall and I forgot to stick the microphone down my dress. The sound man said, ‘Here let me put it on for you.’ And he started reaching into my dress. People were looking at us, and I said, ‘No, let’s go to the ladies’ room or the back of a truck.’ But then a bomb came, and they had to blow up the bomb.”
But in spite of the excitement, Thomson loved working here: “The Israeli actors who worked with us were amazingly talented, particularly talented.”
She also remembers being warned, “There’s a holiday coming up and we can’t eat real bread. We have to eat crackers. And I said, ‘Oh, do you mean matza?’” The cosmopolitan actress, who was adopted and raised in France, started out as a model but quickly moved into acting and had an extremely varied career. In addition to her role in Unforgiven, she worked in Hollywood films such as Bad Boys, as well as indie hits including I Shot Andy Warhol. But the centerpiece of her career has been her work with Kollek. After an uncertain beginning, the two established their partnership.
“I first met him in New York. He had quite a good script. I auditioned for the second or third lead. But there was no chemistry with the girl who was supposed to play the lead.”
After a round of auditions, Kollek abandoned his original idea, telling her, “We’re not going to make this movie, but I wrote something else.”
“I read the other thing he wrote and it was amazing. All the parts were good. I called all the actors I knew to audition,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed working with him. He’s very, very smart. I could see immediately that he was a gifted filmmaker. We pretty much agreed on everything.”
One difference is that “Amos likes New York more than I do. New York is a city for aggressive people in a bad mood,” said Thomson, a longtime New Yorker.
Because of some rough breaks, Thomson hasn’t worked in several years. She lost her sight after she contracted a virulent disease on a visit to a hospital, and then several close friends and relatives died. But she is looking forward to being back in Israel and meeting the audiences at the festival with Kollek.
“I always enjoy being part of an arts festival,” she said.
For more information, go to the festival website at