Film Director Golda Meir on Helen Mirren Casting, Netanyahu Protests – The Hollywood Reporter

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When Guy Nativ came on board to direct Gold – based on Israel’s first and only female Prime Minister Golda Meir – knew he did not want to make a war film, despite the film being set during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. seen war films before,” he said, and what audiences had not seen before was Meir’s story.

With GoldNattiv, who broke out with his short film and subsequent feature Skin, hoping to give more understanding to Meir’s leadership during the conflict, which was seen inside and outside her country as a failure and before she resigned. “Much of the film is spent watching Meir and the generals listen to the sound of people dying on the battlefield while playing cat and mouse with the Egyptians and Syrians. There is no blood to be seen but the agony and pain is embedded in the very soundscape itself,” read The Hollywood Reporter review of the film.

Ahead of the film’s release, Nativ spoke to THR about his choice to use actual battle footage in the film, the criticism of casting Mirren, who is not Jewish, to play Meir, and what it’s like to let Golda out with him that Israelis are complaining about the current Prime Minister’s efforts to reform. the judges of the country.

What did you want audiences to understand about Golda Meir that they may not have been aware of before?

Golda, in Israel, was basically a legend. She may have been an icon, but no one put her name on schools or parks. She was somewhat of an Israeli pariah because her name was linked to the failure of the Yom Kippur War. It was rather easy to blame an older woman from Milwaukee who did not know much about the war for what happened. Israel’s generals didn’t take responsibility, they didn’t say, “It’s on us.” She said, “It’s up to me. I am resigning.” And that’s the narrative we grew up on, that Godla was a failure and that it was a terrible war, but nobody talked about it. It was kind of a hidden secret until 10 years ago when declassified documents leaked out of the state and the truth came out that the real intelligence department put it up. Therefore, she was not the only one who faced this failure. When I read the script by Nicholas Morton, I felt that we could do justice to this original woman who was not perfect, and who was a controversial character, but she was not the only one We could be blamed for this war. So when I read the script, this was 80 percent war, 20 percent Golda. I set my mind to do the opposite, to focus on Golda and have a 20 percent war. I wanted to make a war film without a single drop of blood.

In the film, the audience is not shown much of the battle or the front lines but we hear the audio of the battlefield as it is presented to Golda. What was the thought behind showing the war in this way?

I grew up on it The Conversation by Gene Hackman and Blow out, the Brian De Palma film where there is a recording of a murder. I thought about it too Other People’s Lives, where he creates a narrative through sound. I thought about how Golda experienced the war, which was only through sound because she could not go to the front. So [I thought] why don’t we take the war into the war room instead of just spending all our money shooting war scenes with tanks? So, I got from], who was the commander of a Battalion in the South. He owned all these records. I showed him the film and asked him if he can provide these [recordings] for us. I was blown away by the number of records from 1973. It made me cry and I put it on film. What you hear is, for the most part, real noise from the front.

Was it a difficult decision including the actual audio? I know your father fought in the war. It is one thing to show a war, it is another thing to show the war with real audio. What made you decide that the sound should be in the film?

The cinema today is so mixed, you have documentary and commentary together. Look at Oliver Stone JFK He used actual footage from the murder. I thought this would add to the truth. I asked the veterans what they thought about it, and they said it is a tribute to the people who gave their lives to the war. And when we showed the film in front of 6,000 people in Jerusalem with war veterans, they were just in tears and they felt it was a beautiful tribute. And we also dedicated this film to people who lost their lives in the war.

Mirren’s casting as Golda was criticized because she is not Jewish. What do you want critics to understand about your casting choice?

When I came to the project, Eilidh had already been cast as Golda. Gideon Meir, Golda’s grandson, told the representatives, “I look at Eilidh, I see my grandmother. That’s what I want to play with my grandma.” When I came [on], they said to me, you got the job why don’t you meet Eilidh? She came to my house in the middle of the pandemic and we sat and talked for three hours. She told me when she was 29, she went on tour [Israel] and he went to the kibbutz and volunteered, and fell in love with an Israeli man. They toured the country, hitchhiked and lived there for three and a half months. She was more than just a visitor. When I talked to her at my house, I felt like I was talking to my mother. I felt that she is someone from my tribe. I felt that she was someone who understands the bits and pieces of what it means to be Jewish. So I felt that she would be an amazing choice to play Golda except that she is one of the best actresses of our time in our time. I respect the debate. I think so CODA 30 years ago it would probably have been cast differently. And when I see CODA with hearing impaired people, it makes it much more authentic. And I think so Water man Dustin Hoffman might not be today or Dallas Buyers Club Jared Leto wouldn’t. So I’m open to that, but I personally thought that Helen is perfect to play Golda, especially after we got the family blessing.

What did you want the audience to understand Gold being a woman, and holding that position of power?

The disrespect and rude behavior of these leaders and her staff in 1973 was disgraceful. You see that when she takes the blame because no one has enough voice and enough respect to say, “It’s me.” She took the blame because she is a woman, and she was older, and she did not come from the milieu of those Sabras, of the Zionists. I think if she wasn’t a woman, it wouldn’t have happened like that. On the other hand, she is a pioneer, she paved the way for Angela Merkel, [Margaret] Thatcher, Hillary [Clinton], and many others. i guess [her] The decline and the fact that she was the wrong person, in the wrong time, in the wrong place affected how women are treated in politics in Israel.

How will the film be released when Israelis are protesting the current Prime Minister’s attempt to reform the judiciary?

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government – a real government I would say – is leading the country into chaos. It leads us to disaster. This is basically what happened in 1973. So when I went to the screening with my dad and my friends and my family, I met people from the Yom Kippur War wearing this t-shirt that said , “I fought the Yom Kippur War and now I’m fighting for democracy, again.” But this time there are not those enemies around us who are trying to kill us. We are killing ourselves from within. And the good thing about it is that you see the young people awakened. All the young people in Israel woke up and, with the older generation, you can see hundreds and thousands of people going on the street, every Sunday. I really hope that the high court will overturn what Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to do and I hope that his government will abide by the ruling of the high court. Golda believed in the high court, she believed in the system.

The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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