As a creator of over 80 films and documentaries, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai is constantly on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration. And when we caught up with him in New Delhi, he told us why he finds peace in India and why this country offers constant learning for the 63-year-old.
“There are many things in India to learn from. The music, the dance, the artists and most importantly the cinema, it liberates you,” tells the storyteller.
Gitoi, who directed Oscar winner Natalie Portman in Free Zone in 2005, says that similarity between India and Israel is also something that pulls him here. “India (in 1947) and Israel (in 1948) became independent at about the same time. The story of empowerment in both the lands inspires me,” he says.
The filmmaker, who specialises in making war -related films, tells us why such cinema is his preferred genre, “I was studying architecture in 1973 when I was sent to take part in the Yom Kippur war (between Israel, Egypt and Syria). That experience shaped me for the films I make,” he adds.
The director, who was the guest of honour at the recently-concluded Kolkata Film Festival, also tells us why Bengali cinema especially stirs him. “The human connect in Bengali films is original. Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak are my heroes,” he says.
It is not just Bengal, other parts of India have also drawn his attention. “The culture of Rajasthan, the beauty of Uttarakhand and the calmness of Kerala, I learn from every part of India,” he adds.