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October 11, 2007 - Image 58

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-10-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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The Bubble's Mon Friedmann, Ohad Knoller, director Eytan Fox, Yousef "J e"
Sweld and Daniela Wircer

Michael Fox
Special to the Jewish News

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58

October 11 0 2007

T

hanks to the worldwide suc-
cess of Yossi & Jagger and
Walk On Water, filmmaker
Eytan Fox has earned a following well
beyond his native Israel. But he still
looks for inspiration close to home, in
his childhood and his neighborhood.
Fox's latest, The Bubble, is set (and
largely shot) along Sheinkin Street in
the Tel Aviv neighborhood of young
hipsters and artistes where the openly
gay director lives with his longtime
partner and co-screenwriter, Gal
Uchovsky.
The vibrant, funny and ultimately
shocking film centers on a quartet of
attractive twentysomethings whose
sex lives typically take precedence over
political activism.
But when Noam (Ohad Knoller,
who played Yossi in Fox's earlier film)
begins a relationship with Ashraf
(Yousef "Joe" Sweld), a Palestinian,
he makes waves that not only engulf
them, but also his gay roommate Yali
(Mon Friedmann) and straight female
roomie Lulu (Daniela Wircer).
Like all of Fox's films, The Bubble
entertainingly combines an enthu-
siasm for contemporary pop culture
— notably a soundtrack of catchy,
often familiar tunes — with personal
and political awakening.
"Some people don't really like what
I do and don't like the fact that I mesh
these two:' Fox said with a shrug dur-
ing a recent visit to San Francisco. "We

have this dichotomy in Israel, where
you have very serious political or
ideologically oriented films and war
stories. Then you have fluffy films that
have humor.
"I told my [backers],`I want to make
an Israeli-Palestinian relationship story,
but I don't want to make it one of those
heavy Amos Gitai films. I want to make
a film that is true to life:"
Fox is gregarious and speaks fast,
fluent English, which may contribute
to the reception he's received outside
of Israel. He was born in New York and
was a toddler when his family moved
to Israel in 1967. His late mother,
his key influence, devoted her life to
building relationships between Israelis
and Palestinians in Jerusalem and
elsewhere in Israel.
Fox grew up in the posh French Hill
neighborhood of Jerusalem. It had a
nice playground, so the children from
Isawiya, an Arab village in nearby east
Jerusalem, would come and play with
the Jewish kids.
"At some point:' Fox recalls, "the
head of the neighborhood committee
decided or heard that the Palestinian
kids were hitting or beating the Jewish
kids. He said, 'We'll stop the whole
playing together.' My mother was
beside herself"
In The Bubble, this becomes Noam's
pivotal memory. It peaks with a flash-
back of a party at the playground
where the only attendees are Noam
and his mother. That, too, has its roots
in Fox's experience.
"It was important to us to shoot in

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