Eran Kolirin is best known to worldwide audiences for his debut breakout, 2007’s The Band’s Visit. That film was Israel’s submission to the Oscars and had a good shot at taking the Foreign Language prize, but its use of English ultimately saw it disqualified. Since then, Kolirin has made just three features, including this year’s Un Certain Regard premiere Let There Be Morning.
Based on the 2005 book by Sayed Kashua, the story is timely. It centers on Sami, a Palestinian born Israeli citizen who, while attending his brother’s wedding across the border, is suddenly unable to return to Jerusalem when the only road back has been blocked by Israeli soldiers, forcing the village into lockdown. Already facing a midlife crisis, Sami rediscovers his family and a sense of purpose. There are laughs along the way, but the subject matter is heightened, given the recent violence that has broken out in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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“It was an awful year,” Kolirin recalls. “I finished the film and had nowhere to screen it. I was constantly thinking, fuck, it’s like a tree falling in the forest. Then there were these climactic events of the last month, it was all happening again.”
After the financing, Kolirin explains that a law was passed in Israel that a film made by the Israeli Film Fund has to be presented as an ‘Israeli film’. He scoffs, “Why does the state want you to declare what is obvious? As if I don’t know who I am and I have to erase the other guys’ identity… I don’t want this film to be used as whitewashing of anything that has been done, the things that are done are terrible.”
Next up for him is a TV series planned as a German co-production to be placed at a streamer. Korilin is enthusiastic about the “quirky mystery” of a group of German tourists visiting the Dead Sea who find their bus suddenly swallowed up by a sinkhole.
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