Sunday August 26, at what was set to be a sedate Q&A hosted by Cinémas Palme D’Or in Palm Desert became anything but sedate when filmmaker and Academy Award winner Richard Trank commented on the NY Times review of the documentary film just shown to Palm Desert residents: “It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodore Herzl.”
The NY Times review of the film according to Trank “… it wasn’t a review of a movie, but one woman’s views of Zionism and the State of Israel. In all my time in the film industry I’ve never have gotten such a filthy review like this.”
He concluded his remarks about the review saying “One of my old friends, a winner of three Oscars, told me that all press is good press and that people generally don’t read the reviews.”
Trank is a first generation American that lost most of his extended family during the holocaust. He is the resident filmmaker for Moriah Films – a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Trank has directed 8 films in 31 years for the center and won an Academy Award in 1998 for the documentary film “The Long Way Home.”
“It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl” chronicles the life of the father of modern Israel. It was a film that cost $1 million dollars to produce and approximately 15 months to make. It is narrated by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi”) and features the voice of Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”).
One audience member asked about Waltz “wasn’t he the actor that played a Nazi?”
And indeed it is the same actor that won an Academy Award for playing an outlandish Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Inglourious Basterds.” Trank told that he questioned Waltz about his association with his award winning film and according to Trank, Waltz married a Jew and has raised his three children in the religion – one of which is studying to be a rabbi. Also it appears that his family worked as actors in the same Austrian theater that produced some of Theodor Herzl’s plays and at about the same time too.
Trank’s next film will be based on the book “The Prime Ministers,” written by Yehuda Avner.
Please click here for my review: “It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl”
“It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl” is not rated has a run-time of 1 hour and 37 minutes.
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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones & no texting, please don’t talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don’t forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work on SilentHollywood.com