In Israel’s young film industry, where several film-makers struggle to define their national identity through films on war and critiques of the government, Dani Menkin is an exception.
The 41-year-old director and screenwriter is perhaps the most prominent name in Israel’s independent cinema, who sidesteps politics to make films about love and human relationships.
Two of these films – ‘Je T’aime I Love You Terminal’ and ‘Wisdom of the Pretzel’ – were screened at the YB Chavan Auditorium on Thursday, during Menkin’s first visit to Mumbai.
“Most people know of the political side of Israel, but my films are human stories about the ordinary lives of people in this country,” said Menkin, who began his film career in 2003 as the co-director of Wisdom of the Pretzel, a story of a young man unable to make commitments either in love or his career.
Je T’aime.., Menkin’s latest film, draws its title from a popular Israeli song and is a love story between an Israeli man and a British woman who meet while in transit at Prague. “Most of my films are about underdogs who discover themselves on road trips,” said Menkin.
“The most successful films in the past few years have been critical of the state, talking about the trauma of war, injustices in our society and even the ill-treatment of our Arab neighbours,” said Menkin. “But all of them have been funded and supported by the government, which says a lot about our democracy.”