Award-winning animated feature about Second Temple destruction now in English

Gidi Dar says ‘Legend of Destruction’ film is ‘warning sign to Israelis’ at a time of renewed national discord

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

From 'Legend of Destruction,' Gidi Dar's 2021 film about the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 70 CE. (Courtesy David Polonsky and Michael Faust)
From 'Legend of Destruction,' Gidi Dar's 2021 film about the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 70 CE. (Courtesy David Polonsky and Michael Faust)

Director Gidi Dar’s award-winning film “Legend of Destruction” about the Jewish revolt against Rome in 70 CE has been dubbed into English, with voices by Oscar Isaac, Evangeline Lilly, Elliot Gould, Billy Zane and others.

The 2021 film, made entirely of still drawings, was written by Dar and actor Shuli Rand, and drawn by Michael Faust and David Polonsky of the Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning 2008 animated film, “Waltz with Bashir.”

Dar’s film unfolds from the days prior to the Israelites’ first, nascent protests against the Jewish elite who were playing a political game, balancing their protection of the Temple with their knowledge and fear of the Roman power.

Actors Moni Moshonov, Yael Abecassis, Igal Naor and Amos Tamam provided the voices in the original Hebrew version, which won four Ophir awards.

The animated feature tells the story of the Jewish revolt against Rome from the perspective of Ben Batiach, voiced by Isaac (“Scenes from a Marriage”), a goodhearted scholar who turns zealot and becomes a follower of the charismatic and rebellious leader, Bar Giora, voiced by Billy Zane (“Back to the Future,” “Titanic.”)

Lilly (“Avengers: Quantum Encounter”) is the voice of Queen Berenice, who is doing her best to save the Temple while Elliott Gould (“Ocean’s 11”) is the voice of Rabbi Ben Zakkai, considered one of Jewish history’s greatest sages.

The 90-minute “Legend of Destruction” was released in the summer of 2021 prior to the annual Ninth of Av fast, which marks several disasters in Jewish history including the destruction of the Second Temple.

Dar, also known for the award-winning 2004 “Ushpizin,” spent years making “Legend of Destruction,” following the trajectory of historian Flavius, a Jew who became a traitor and wrote an account for the Roman victors, adding interpretations and commentary.

Dar said he was pleased that actors of this scale liked the film and wanted to participate in it. Isaac, through his production company Mad Gene Media, and Lilly are also executive producing.

Filmmaker Gidi Dar took a risk on his latest film, ‘Legend of Destruction,’ about the 70 CE Jewish revolt on Rome in Jerusalem (Courtesy Iliya Malnikov)

At the same time, said Dar, he has been experiencing great anguish and a “huge concern for his nation.”

“Just like in my film, each side clings to its own righteousness, to the point of completely denying the other side and its truth,” said Dar.

“The height of the flames is rising and I am very anxious that like in the movie, and like in the reality of 2,000 years ago, things will lose control and we will start sliding down the slippery slope whose end will be ours. And then, who will even remember how it all started.

“Even then, everyone thought it would be fine, otherwise they would have stopped in time.”

Dar added that he and his film partner Shuli Rand created “Legend of Destruction” as a warning sign to Israelis, “and I pray that we know how to stop in time.”

There is no official US release date available for “Legend of Destruction.”

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