Amos Gitai - Screening of Film “News From Home”

Film - Documentary | August 30 | 6:30-9 p.m. | 112 Wurster Hall

 College of Environmental Design

Lecture Series: House, City, Border: Poetics and Politics of Israel

First of a three-part film series presented by the College of Environmental Design. Amos Gitai (Ph.D Architecture '79) will be on hand for the screening and discussion that follows. Jean-Paul Bourdier, Professor of Archtitecure, will discuss the film with Gitai.

About the Film:

News From Home is the 2006 installment in Amos Gitai’s documentary series that also includes House (1980) and A House in Jerusalem (1998). Revolving around property that once belonged to a Palestinian family and was later taken over by Israelis, the films juxtapose the Israeli and Palestinian diasporas by tracking the original owner’s descendants, the construction workers, and the current occupants over the years. Given that the filmmaker once studied architecture, the documentaries are replete with construction details. No sweat if you’re unfamiliar with the first two parts of the series; seemingly mindful of the earlier films’ obscurity (House was banned by Israeli television), Gitai here supplies extensive scenes from the previous chapters as well as his own voiceover narration in heavily accented English. Clearly, the subject matter is close to Gitai’s heart, and the humanist message that people should peacefully coexist is quite evident in all three of the films. (He even revisited the theme in dramatic form in the 2007 feature Disengagement.) The Housedocumentaries certainly demonstrate Gitai’s evolution as a filmmaker, his techniques getting glossier with each successive part. But News From Home/News From House never arrives at a real polemical moment to rival the ignorant American interviewee spouting revisionist history in A House in Jerusalem. Gitai considers these films as archaeological projects, but the House trilogy falls short of achieving the same level of profundity as Michael Apted’s Up series, a comparable chronicle of social change. (From the Village Voice)

About this Lecture Series:

This lecture series presents a set of curated films that allow the audience to enter Israel from the powerful lens of the renowned filmmaker Amos Gitai. Each of the screenings in this series is a final film in a trilogy: House, City, and Border, introducing the audience to both Gitai’s documentary and fiction filmmaking. As a trained Architect, Gitai has a unique way of understanding and representing human experience through time and space. House, City, and Border are the anatomy of any country, which Gitai has beautifully captured to present a more complete narrative/image of Israel in the context of larger global discourses.

This film series will be of special interest to those in the College of Environmental Design, the Israel and Jewish studies program, Middle Eastern studies, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies. The series ends with Gitai’s 2007 film Disengagement, which more directly engages with the overall theme of our screenings regarding the plan, construction, transformation, and destruction of ideological settlements. Amos’s filmmaking style will set an example for all of us studying people and their environments on how to cross geographical, racial, ideological and political borders to examine and humanize opposing groups to one another. These films together help build a foundation for peace.

ABOUT AMOS GITAI (PH.D ARCHITECTURE '79):

Alumnus Amos Gitai is an acclaimed Israeli filmmaker who is widely known for making documentaries and feature films about the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict.

Gitai's work has been presented in several major retrospectives at the Pompidou Center Paris, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Lincoln Center New York and the British Film Institute London. To date Gitai has created over 90 works of art over 38 years. Between 1999 and 2011 seven of his films were entered in the Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d'Or as well as the Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion award.

He has received several prestigious prizes which include the Leopard of Honor at the Locarno International Film Festival (2008), the Roberto Rossellini prize (2005), the Robert Bresson prize (2013) and the Paradjanov prize (2014). His recent feature film, Rabin, The Last Day, was presented at the 72th Venice Film Festival.

About Professor Bourdier

Professor of Architecture, Jean-Paul Bourdier is the co-author of African Spaces and Drawn from African Dwellings. In the role of production designer and co-director he has worked on seven films directed by Trinh T. Minh-ha. His painting exhibitions and photographs of ephemeral sculptures and body art have been widely exhibited nationally, winning fourteen national and international competitions. Awards include Guggenheim, American Council of Learned Societies, NEA Graham, UC President's Humanities, and Getty. He teaches design studios and seminars on topics ranging from vernacular architecture around the world to poetics of inspiration and the drawn image. His latest collection of photographs, Body Unbound (2016), is the third in a series of books exploring natural landscapes joined with the human form. He is also the photographer and author of Bodyscapes (2007) and Leap Into the Blue (2013).

This event is co-sponsored by the College of Environmental Design and the Global Urban Humanities Initiative

This lecture is open to the public.

 mdwylde@berkeley.edu