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Film Festival Focus:
`The Flying Camel'
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ith The Flying Camel,
Na'aman has gotten
over the hump.
After an acclaimed career as
assistant director on a number of
films, the Tel Aviv University
film school grad has graduated
to calling the shots on his own.
The Flying Camel marks Mr.
Na'amarfs first feature film as di-
rector, and he could hardly be
Na'aman. "The fact that Israelis
and Arabs live on a mutual piece
He soon found himself more in-
terested in unearthing other plot
"I wanted audiences to forget
that this was about Israelis and
Arabs," he says. "I wanted them
to see this as about human be-
ings." But, aren't the characters
a bit farfetched?
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Salim Dau and Gideon Singer in 'The Flying Camel.'
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happier with the exceptional re-
"Not at all," retorts Rami
sults. The Flying Camel earned Na'aman. '1 know people who are
the jury citation at the 1994 more extreme. None is far-
Jerusalem Film Festival.
A flying camel statue — rep-
Indeed, audiences worldwide
resenting the freedom to fly from have found the characters fetch-
troubles — is at the center of this ing.
comedy, which explores such di-
"People come out [of theaters]
verse issues as the clash between very excited," says the filmmak-
Arabs and Jews and the need to er, excited himself.
prize architectural treasures in
"It is an optimistic story, that
people can get along, that if you
The cast of characters is led by bring political problems down to
Bauman, a retired Jewish pro- the human level, you can find a
fessor who accumulates what he basis for understanding."
considers to be priceless archi-
Mr. Na'aman understands
tectural gems — such as the that Israel's problems are not nec-
camel — in his junkyard.
essarily everyone's problems —
Into his life storms Phares, an or are they?
Arab garbage collector who trash-
"Even people who don't agree
es Bauman's peaceful everyday with what happens politically in
existence when he insists that the Israel," says the filmmaker, "en-
yard was once the site of his fa- joy the possibility that people of
ther's orange grove.
such different backgrounds can
Add an intrusive Italian nun get along.
to the troika and Camel becomes
"It was shown at the Indian
a Camelot of eccentrics.
Film Festival in Bombay, and I
"I started this on an ideologi- thought, 'What would the Indi-
cal point of view," says Mr. ans find in this?' But they all felt
attached to it because they have
Michael Elkin is the
same problems in another way in
entertainment editor of the
dealing with minorities, different
Jewish Exponent in
cultures who have to live on the.