CHRONICLING A CRISIS (2011)
Running Time: 90 mins. Rating: x Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Amos Kollek
Language: Hebrew with English subtitles
Distributor: Hamon Productions/Pie Films
The personal is the personal would best describe CHRONICLING A CRISIS, the latest effort by filmmaker and novelist, Amos Kollek. Kollek, an Israeli, has had a long career with a string of female-led films, including HAPPY END with actress Audrey Tautou. That HAPPY END was not a success is lucky for us as it encouraged him to put the lens on himself, juxtaposing his own aging process with the aging and death of his prominent father, Teddy Kollek, long-time mayor of Jerusalem and a drug-addled sex worker, Robin, who becomes both his muse and his barometer for understanding life’s wicked curve balls.
Filmed over seven years, Kollek constructs a riveting story that pits his own ego and power struggle with the King, his father, next to Robin’s early orphaned state and subsequent difficult life. It also deals with one’s addiction to New York City and the dreams that are manufactured here.
Years ago when still acting, I auditioned for Kollek and found the entire episode confusing. I later met him in Cannes at the festival, where he struck me as a combination of funny and whiney, in equal doses. He is still that in this film, though now seasoned by life’s natural disappointments and an urgent need to understand himself and his own drives. It’s not easy to be the child of the famous, though those of us from a less privileged statehood would argue that it permits access, which is no small thing in the arts. Still his suffering and amusingly delivered lack of vanity is a reminder that nothing is perfect. The same insecurities and doubts exist, perhaps even more so because of the constant comparisons.
There are women all over Kollek’s life – his young daughters, his photographer wife and his apparent life-opposite, Robin. It is hard to ever feel sorry for Robin because she is not sorry for herself. She has an engaging spirit and we and the film root for her.
There’s a great deal of narration in CHRONICLING A CRISIS. It is playful, yet sometimes annoying in the beginning; but as Kollek travels further into himself and his own truths, it is right. His deepening as a man and as filmmaker stays with us, long after the lights come up. And the music, some of which he is responsible for, is inventive and well placed.
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