In clip, Natalie Portman teaches Hebrew slang
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In clip, Natalie Portman teaches Hebrew slang

Jerusalem-born actress explains what it means to ‘live in a movie,’ but some definitions are lacking

Israel-born actress Natalie Portman offered a lesson in Hebrew slang in video posted by Vanity Fair on Monday, with some of her definitions falling slightly off-mark.

In the two-minute clip, the actress walks through some of Israel’s most popular refrains, from “chaval al hazman” to “balagan.”

“This is a great one,” the actress said of the phrase “chai beseret.”

“This means you’re ‘living in a movie,’ which is like, you know, someone’s being dramatic or they’re unrealistic or whatever about their prospects,” she explained.

The word “balagan” or mess, chaos was also referenced in the video. It’s “kind of the first word people learn when moving to Israel,” said Portman.

Portman, however, simply defined the rousing and semi-offensive “manyak” as “maniac,” omitting its connotative meaning.

Portman was born in Jerusalem and speaks fluent, albeit accented, Hebrew.

As a child, her family moved to the United States, where she made a memorable feature film debut in 1994’s hit-man tale “Leon: The Professional.” Additional roles in “Heat” and “Beautiful Girls” catapulted her into the spotlight, which was solidified by her role as Padmé Amidala in the extracanonical episodes I-III of the Star Wars franchise.

In 2015, Portman also directed and adapted as a screenplay the Hebrew-language “A Tale of Love and Darkness” film, based on the Amos Oz film. She also starred in the film, a role for which she hired an Israeli accent coach.

AP contributed to this report.

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