Oftentimes, when an actor makes their directorial debut, they seek to cut their teeth on a small project that ultimately makes few waves. Jason Bateman’s Bad Words was mildly amusing, but predictable. James Franco’s The Ape is largely unknown. Even Lake Bell’s In A World… , while great, is a very contained, intimate story. This is not the strategy employed by Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, however, who makes her debut with A Tale Of Love And Darkness.
Based on the memoir by Israeli author Amos Oz, the film takes an unflinching, historical look at the politics of Israel and Palestine, the mother-son relationship, familial grief, and the nurturing of the creative mind, on a personal level. The film is also presented entirely in Hebrew.
“Based on the international best-seller by Amos Oz, A Tale Of Love And Darkness is the story of his youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man’s relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell become the stories we live.”
Make no mistake, in optioning the award-winning book by Amos Oz and spending eight years writing the screenplay, Natalie Portman has ensured that her directorial debut is the very definition of a personal passion project. In addition to writing, directing and producing the film, she also stars as the ill-fated mother of Amos Oz, Fania Oz. Joining her in the cast are Amir Tessler, Shira Haas, Ohad Khoury, Rotem Keinan, and Henry David.
A Tale Of Love And Darkness premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a year ago, but we are now seeing the first U.S trailer, ahead of its August 19th, 2016 release date. The preview footage shows sumptuous frames filled with intimate family moments, playing out against political upheaval. It seems that Natalie Portman has sought to pour her heart and soul into this directorial debut – but whether that resonates with audiences or not remains to be seen.
Source: The Film Stage