'Chronicling A Crisis,' Amos Kolleck's Moving New Documentary, Brilliantly Shows Changes In The Film Industry

 @Justine__Ashley
on May 02 2012 7:10 AM
Israel
Israel Reuters

Amos Kolleck has been working in the film industry since the mid-1980's. His vast directing credits include Goodbye, New York, Forever Lulu, and High Stakes. His latest creative venture, Chronicling a Crisis, is an intriguing foray into four remarkably different lives. A poignant spin on the average documentary, the uniquely constructed production provides a welcome departure from some of the trite commercial films in theaters.

Over the years Kolleck has had his fair share of film flops and successes throughout the world. This was largely due to the tight binds of the studio system that stifled his creative approach. After directing stints in France and his native Jerusalem, he found there was still a great deal to learn. For instance, he initially overshot productions, using countless takes to capture a single shot. Yet he was eventually advised to stop, when he had the moment he needed.

After enduring career ups and downs, he found that offers to direct were few and far between. This caused him to avoid the studio system and develop his own production, Sue, in 1997. The film was a tremendous success, particularly in France where it played for over a year.  Finally, he was able to gain the respect of his peers and avid film goers. His return to more commercial ventures in 2003 Happy End, starring Audrey Tatou proved unsuccessful and forced him to enter a self-reflective period. While moving back and forth between Israel and the United States, he began using a mini DV camera to take home movies of his two daughters and ailing father back home. Gradually, the creative void in his life began to dissipate.

It wasn't long before a documentary style film began to manifest. Focusing on several contrasting elements of his life, Kolleck found that two key interactions remained at the film's core. He told the International Business Times: One was my relationship with my dying father. The other was my relationship with two street prostitutes. A lot of the project was about me, since these people were linked through me. I felt as though we were all racing to the grave. My father was ill, the prostitutes were doing drugs, and I was suffering from depression.

It was while filming his father in the later stages of his illness that Kolleck realized his footage may serve as the basis for a film. He recounted: I filmed a scene where I asked him if he knew my name. I could tell that he couldn't remember but he gave me all kinds of answers. He was like a caged lion and I felt terrible that I was filming but I couldn't stop. When I watched it later, I realized that even if no one knew who the subject of the footage was, it was a very strong dramatic moment. Interestingly enough, many people in Israel would know who his father was. Teddy Kolleck served as the Mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 to 1993.

Much of the footage also revolves around his two daughters, who were teenagers when he began filming seven years ago. This allows for an interesting mix in the narrative structure of the piece. He refers to his daughters as the shinning lights of the movie that greatly contrast his suffering father and the drug addicted streetwalkers. In the end, the project became known as Chronicling a Crisis.

Chronicling as Crisis may be likened to the recent non-fiction standout Five Broken Cameras, which began as a Palestinian man's hobby and turned into a brilliant work of art. Both films may be grouped with the rise of citizen journalists. Major cultural events, such as Occupy Wall Street, have been captured by amateur filmmakers who have managed to produce rousing footage.

The film is also an extension of the changes occurring in the film industry. Unique productions that wouldn't normally be accessible are starting to premier online. Companies like Snag Films have taken on socially conscious films, such as #WhileWeWatch, about the protests in Zuccatti Park. The site offers audiences the chance to watch informative documentaries at no cost.This newfound form of presenting films offers hope that passion projects like Chronicling A Crisis will find an audience.

Kolleck's film will premiere at Quad Cinema in New York on Friday, May 4th. For more information visit Israel Film Database.

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