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A Look In The Mirror
Israeli director's "broken" family inspires film debut.
it's a way to fix things for me."
Bergman, who moved to Tel Aviv when he was 20, set
and shot his movie in the Haifa neighborhood where he
grew up. For me," he confides, the big understanding
hen Nir Bergman's parents split up 25 years
finishing the film was where I lost my dad perma-
ago, divorce was-rare in Israel. But the seed had
— although no one had died — but emotionally."
been planted in San Diego.
Broken Wings is laced with dark laughs, mostly provided
"It was a year after we were in the States," the
by the oldest child, 17-year-old Maya. With mom working
soft-spoken Israeli filmmaker recalls. "We spent a year here,
long hours at a hospital, the smart but put-upon Maya has
and I think America opened their mind to a lot of options.
to take care of her two youngest siblings.
We came back and that's it: My family collapsed in one day."
Bergman hoped his offbeat independent film — whose
Not surprisingly, it was a traumatic event for the 10-year-old
deadpan sensibility echoes that of American Jewish writer-
Nir. He was the only child in his class — make that the first
director Todd Solondz's Welcome to the Dollhouse and
child — whose parents broke up, and he's still getting over it.
Happiness — would find an art-house audience. Unexpectedly,
His wry, ominous feature debut, Broken Wings, centers on
crowds of mainstream Israelis connected with the movie's tone
a traumatized Haifa family after the father's departure. A sur-
of foreboding mixed with irony.
prise hit in Israel — where it sold a
"The story is totally cosmopolitan,
quarter of a million tickets and
but the way it's told I think is very
received nine Israeli Academy Awards
Israeli," Bergman says. "You feel the
— it launched Bergman's directorial
tension, and you feel fear for each char-
career with a bang.
acter. There is a danger in the air."
"The inner pain of the characters is
Israelis may flock to outlandish
something that I carry with me,"
American-special effects movies like
Bergman reveals during a recent visit
everyone else does, but Bergman sug-
to the United States. "These characters
gests that they were able to recognize
are looking for love. In a way, I use
themselves in Broken Wings.
them to look for love for myself. I
"For Israeli audiences, a family trying
wanted it to be a big family, to make it
go through a normal day is very
warm and to show that their potential
Nir Bergman, center, gives direction on
appealing," Bergman declares.
is much better than my family had. So the set of "Broken Wings."
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Special to the Jewish News
outhfield singer-pianist Avy
Schreiber performs on three
racks of a new two-CD set,
Voices for Israel, planned to
raise funds for the country's victims of
voice can be heard on
"Ghazal( Amenu: We
Stand As One,"
More than 50 Jewish
music acts came
together to complete
the project organized
by Jordan B.
Gorfinkel, founder of
the a cappella group
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Beat'achon, which counts Schreiber as a
member. The group combines fresh
vocal harmonies and pop rhythms with
traditional Jewish lyrics. A translitera-
tion of the Hebrew word for "faith,"
Beat'achon has an unusual English
spelling that connects members to their
musical heroes, the Beatles.
"I love the diversity
voices the CD fea-
tures," says Schreiber,
who was invited to be
part of the CD by
Gorfinkel. "I also like
that we were able to
find so many, musi-
cians on the Jewish
"The main song was
recorded in a lot of
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because we all couldn't be together in
the same studio at the same time. The
majority of the 35 tracks are from pre-
Schreiber wrote the lead song with
Gorfinkel, Yehuda Cik and Adam
Fishman. The lyrics, which include
Biblical verses mixed with modern
English, repeat the importance of being
strong and standing as one.
"Since I'm deeply committed to
Judaism, Jewishness informs everything
that I do," Schreiber, 34, says. "There's
nothing more powerful than taking
profound phrases and putting them to
music. When other people clap and
sing along, it's like we are all swept up
in the passion of the music."
Among the other artists heard on the
recording are Lenny Solomon &
Shlock Rock, Broadway star Dudu