Joseph Cedar Chat

In September 2004, Joseph Cedar’s film CAMPFIRE received five “Ophir Awards” from the Israel Film Academy including Best Picture, Best Director, & Best Screenplay. But when it made its American debut one month later at the Chicago International Film Festival, CAMPFIRE received mixed reviews from the local press Although it was eventually released in American art house theatres, it never caught on here.

Did Israelis see things in CAMPFIRE that simply went over most American heads? While there are many universal elements to this story, Jan believes there are also underlying dynamics that make it much more than a soap opera about a widow looking for a new husband. This interview provides important insights into characters portrayed by the actor Oshri Cohen, growing from a kid in CAMPFIRE (in 2004) to a man in BEAUFORT (in 2007).

Joseph Cedar (2004)

Jan: Let’s start by discussing the title, Joe. Why call your film CAMPFIRE as opposed to say “Bonfire”?Joe: In Hebrew “campfire” has a dual meaning: “medurat hashevet” literally means “tribal campfire,” but it also has another meaning. For example, Channel 2, the most popular TV channel in Israel, is considered “the tribal campfire” because it’s a center of some kind of culture. If you connect through it you are part of the tribe, but if you find yourself away from it, then you are an outsider.

Click HERE to read complete chat with Joseph Cedar on FILMS FOR TWO.

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