It’s no secret that director Amos Gitai, one of the grandfathers of modern Israeli cinema, has long found inspiration in architecture, and now the world-renowned director is premiering a film series on the subject in New York City.
Gitai has created a bundle of films exploring the connection between Israel and architecture, and beginning next week at Manhattan’s Jewish Theological Seminary, he will present a series of screenings and lectures featuring the man himself.
Architecture is a family business for Gitai, whose difficult and iconic depictions of wartime Israel in “Kippur” (2000) and “Kedma” (2001) have made his creativity part of the Israeli consciousness. Gitai is the son of Munio Weinraub, one of the architects credited with bringing Bauhaus design from Germany to Israel. Gitai himself holds two degrees in architecture, and says that he only began his film career after his studies were interrupted by call-up duty for the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Last year, shortly after being honored with a retrospective of his own life’s work at the Venice Film Festival, Gitai unveiled “Lullaby to My Father,” which tells the story of Weinraub’s life and stars Yael Abecassis, best known to Israeli audiences as one of the stars of the hit program “Prisoners of War.” Also in 2012, Gitai opened Israel’s first-ever architecture museum in his hometown of Haifa. Dubbed the Munio Gitai Weinraub Museum of Architecture, it explores the evolution of the look of the city of Haifa, much of which was directly affected by the creative mind of Weinraub himself.
This year, Gitai returned to Venice to present his newest film, “Ana Arabia,” an auteur look at a tiny, integrated Arab-Jewish community in south Tel Aviv, which was shot in a single take.
Somewhere in-between those projects, Gitai found the time to direct the films of the architecture series, which include “Sacred Places and Spaces”; “Architecture As History”; “Living Spaces”; and “Outsiders.” All four films will be screened for New York audiences during the month of October, and each will be followed by a discussion with the director as well as noted architects, critics, and faculty of the JTS. Bold-faced names on the schedule include Philip Lopate, Adina Hoffman and Stuart Klawans.