Avi Nesher’s latest film, Image of Victory, has been purchased by Netflix for streaming in the US, Israel and around the world, just as the director starts production on his 22nd feature film, The Monkey House.
Netflix will begin streaming Image of Victory this summer on a date that will be announced soon. While Israeli television series such as Fauda and Shtisel have been very popular on Netflix, relatively few Israeli feature films have been shown on the streaming giant, which reaches about 220 million paid subscribers. Image of Victory is the first Israeli feature film that Netflix has purchased for streaming in Israel and one of a handful that it has acquired for distribution around the world.
Nesher, one of Israel’s leading movie directors for more than four decades, released Image of Victory late last year to great critical and popular acclaim.
The movie tells the story of the battle for Kibbutz Nitzanim during the War of Independence, from both the Israeli and Egyptian perspectives.
Its two stars play real-life characters, with Joy Rieger portraying Mira Ben Ari, a wireless operator who chose to stay on the kibbutz even after her husband and son left, and Amir Khoury as Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, a Cairo journalist embedded with Egyptian troops. Its supporting cast features popular Israeli actors, including Ala Dakka, Meshi Kleinstein, Eliana Tidhar, Hisham Suliman and Elisha Banai.
Filmed during the pandemic, the movie was released just as the Omicron variant hit but nevertheless managed to sell more than 200,000 tickets in Israel.
The Monkey House
The Monkey House is a drama set in the literary world in Israel, in which a once promising but now forgotten novelist hires a young woman to pretend to be a graduate student writing a book about him to rekindle interest in his work.
Several of Israel’s leading comic actors have dramatic roles in the film, including Adir Miller, who plays the aging writer. Miller won an Ophir Award for Best Actor for his leading role in Nesher’s 2010 movie, The Matchmaker.
Other comic actors with roles in the film include Shani Cohen of Eretz Nehederet, Yaniv Biton and Eran Zarahovitsh. Suzanna Papian, who had a key role in the school-shooting television series Black Space, plays the young woman who pretends to be a literature student. Ala Dakka portrays a filmmaker making a documentary about Israeli writers who falls for the fake grad student. Channel 12 news anchor and reporter Rina Mazliah has her first film role in the movie.