Mideast meets East meets West during the global coronavirus pandemic

The film’s creators and collaborators, who come from different worlds, brought together their artistic points of view to find new ways to make art and to communicate amid COVID-19 lockdowns.

A SCENE FROM ‘Outside.’ (photo credit: LIELLE SAND)
A SCENE FROM ‘Outside.’
(photo credit: LIELLE SAND)
Writers write, dancers dance and creators create despite a pandemic pervading every person and place on the planet.
Etgar Keret wrote a short story during the COVID-19 lockdown in Israel. That story, Outside, was first published in The New York Times. It was later translated into Japanese and published in The Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s leading daily newspapers, which published a story by an Israeli writer for the first time.
Choreographer Inbal Pinto and author Etgar Keret combined their talents in their first artistic collaboration and made a film together based on the story.
The dance-film Outside, an Israeli-Japanese co-production, shot simultaneously during the coronavirus pandemic in Tel Aviv and in Tokyo, features Israeli and Japanese actors, musicians and dancers, among them Israeli dancer Moran Muller, and the famous Japanese actor and dancer Mirai Moriyama, who has danced in Pinto’s troupe in the past.
Through an artistic prism, influenced by the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of people all over the world, the film depicts individual feelings as well as the general public sentiments that seem to envelop all of us during this period of time.
The film’s creators and collaborators, who come from different worlds, brought together their artistic points of view, aiming to find new multidisciplinary approaches for the creation of art and communication between people under the new restrictions and closed borders imposed in response to the global pandemic.
The Creators
Inbal Pinto
Choreographer, director and set and costume designer.
In 1992, Pinto established the Inbal Pinto Dance Company for which she was artistic director until 2018. Until that time, Pinto presented many dance works including Dio-Can, Wrapped, Oyster, Fugue and many others which became cornerstones in the evolution of Israeli Dance and received rave reviews in Israel and abroad. In 2002 she began collaborating with Avshalom Pollak. The two also choreographed, directed and designed operas and musicals around the globe. Since 2018, Pinto has been working as an independent artist and recently, together with Amir Kliger, she designed and directed a musical based on The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, in Tokyo.
Etgar Keret
Born in 1967 in Ramat Gan, Keret’s books have been translated into more than 45 languages and were very successfully received in Israel and around the world.
His writings were published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker and Le Monde, among others. Keret lives in Tel Aviv and is a professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Over 100 short films, made around the world, were based on his short stories. He received the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize several times, the Chevalier (Knight) Medallion of France’s Order of Arts and literature (2010), the Neuman Prize (2012), and the St. Petersburg Foreign Favorite Author Award (2010).
In 2007 Keret and his wife, Shira Geffen, directed Meduzot (Jellyfish). The film won the Caméra d’Or (“Golden Camera”) award at the Cannes Film Festival. The two also wrote and directed The Middleman (2019), an Arte mini-series that won Best Script award at Les Francofolies De La Rochelle Festival in France. Keret is winner of the Bronfman prize in 2016. His book A Fault at the Edge of the Galaxy won the 2018 Sapir Prize.
Moran Muller
Born in New Jersey in 1989, Muller immigrated to Israel at the age of five.
She started her training at Kfar Vradim in the Galilee and later graduated from the dance school at the Dance Village at Kibbutz Ga’aton. In 2009 and 2010 she danced in the Pathway (Maslul) for Professional Dancers, directed by Noemi Perlov and Ofir Dagan. In 2011 she joined Michael miller’s Ensemble Sigma for one year. From 2012-2014 she worked and performed with the choreographer Nadav Zelner as well as other choreographers, and participated in numerous projects at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. From 2014-2018 she was a member of the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance company. These days she dances in Eyal Daddon’s SOL Dance Company, and also participates in independent projects.
Mirai Moriyama
Born 1984 in Japan, Moriyama is a dancer, actor and creator who participates in many stage and dance productions as well as movies and television programs. He arrived in Israel as a cultural ambassador of Japan for a year, during which time he took part in the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company (Oyster, Wall Flower), and created works together with choreographer Ella Rothschild. Moriyama starred in Vessel by choreographer Damien Jalet.
Umitaro Abe
Born in 1978 in Japan, Abe is a composer, musical producer and arranger. He holds musicology degrees from universities in Tokyo and Paris. Abe has been composing music since 2007, creating original scores for television shows, movies and theater and dance productions. His work is very famous in Japan, thanks to musical themes he composed for popular TV programs.
As part of his collaborations with the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company, he composed original music for two of their works: Wall Flower and Rashomon.
The Outside project was initiated by Arieh Rosen, Israel’s culture and science affairs attaché to Japan, and is supported by the Foreign Ministry, in an effort to continue promoting Israeli culture around the world, create opportunities for cross-cultural artistic collaborations, and to tell new stories, even during a global pandemic and international lockdown.
The collaboration with Factory 54, a company that in the last year has been promoting and cooperating with artists and creators, was born during the coronavirus pandemic. Factory 54 embraces the idea of keeping the cultural life alive and thriving, and sees it as a much-needed inspiration for the community, expressing common experiences of the new reality that surrounds us.
Expressing the sentiment of the time, Outside is making its way to the world during the summer of 2020, moving between languages and countries, intensifying the surreal experiences so many people are feeling during this international crisis.

Tags Japan art