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Amos Gitai

Born in 1950 in Haifa, to architect Munio Weinraub and Zionist activist Efratia Margalit. His father was architect of the pre-war Bauhaus movement in Germany. Amos studied architecture in Haifa and at the University of California, Berkeley. He was called up to serve in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. As part of a helicopter rescue crew, he shot 8 mm footage of the fighting. He claims this served as his entry into the world of filmmaking.[1] On his birthday, Gitai's helicopter was shot down by a Syrian missile on the Golan Heights. This experience had a great effect on his life and forms the basis of his film Kippur, an autobiographical depiction of his war service.


Gitai's films are highly political, something which is unusual in international cinema but not necessarily in Israel, which is a highly politicized society in which open and often harsh political statements are the norm. The major themes of his work tend to be intellectual and didactic, which is in contrast to his extremely visual and non-linear style of filmmaking. His films deal with issues like the existential experience of war (Kippur), the oppression of women by traditional religion (Kadosh), the relationship of the individual to the state contrasted with the relationship of the individual to the family (Alila), and the human cost of realizing political ideologies (Berlin/Jerusalem, Kedma). In many cases, such as Kadosh, Promised Land and Kedma, Gitai's films openly address very distinct political issues such as the division of religion and state in Israel, the exploitation of women by the Israeli sex industry, the historical debate over Israel's War of Independence, and the right of Israeli draftees to refuse military service. Gitai is openly left-wing in his politics and is sometimes accused of going too far in expressing his personal political positions and turning his films into polemics.[2]


Outside of politics, Gitai's films most frequently deal with the question of human relationships in a sociological context. He examines human groups, often in states of extremis, and their relationship to each other and their society. [2]


[1] Cannes Film Festival, 1999

[2] Wikipedia "Amos Gitai"