Eran Riklis

The internationally acclaimed Israeli director spent part of his childhood in the United States and in Brazil, where his father, an enthusiastic amateur filmmaker among other things, worked. Although young Eran Riklis was strongly affected by American culture, upon returning to Israel he soon identified with the new environment and its customs. He enlisted in the Israeli army during the Yom Kippur War, and began studying in Tel Aviv after his military service. In 1957, he moved to the prestigious British National Film and Television School, where he graduated. Since early 1990s, Riklis' work has appeared at international festivals: the drama Cup Final (1993), for example, was presented at the Berlinale as well as the Venice film festival. Beginning with the commercially successful Zohar (1993), the director has also been popular with the Israeli Film Academy. An international breakthrough came with The Syrian Bride (2004), a tragicomic view of the bureaucratic difficulties of a wedding in the area of the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights. Riklis won a similar award a few years later at the Berlinale with Lemon Tree (2008). Sensitively and with a touch if mysticism, the film focuses on the desperate efforts of a Palestinian widow to prevent her lemon tree from being cut down, as her new neighbour – the Israeli Minister of Defence – intends. His latest film, Dancing Arabs (2014), confirms Riklis' reputation as a sensitive observer who is able to depict the challenges of the turbulent region to audiences worldwide in a captivating and comprehensible manner. As the director himself explains, he feels a commitment to present serious topics, but through a dynamic and sympathetic narration rather than through preaching politics.

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