Savi Gabizon: Israel’s New Screen Saver

"Nina's Tragedies" has meant good fortune for Savi Gabizon.

An Israeli director/screenwriter/producer, Savi sat back and savored the triumphs as his film about an Israeli youngster's emotional and sexual coming-of-age saga swept the equivalent of 11 Israeli Academy Awards.

"Nina's Tragedies" is now on screen at the Ritz 16 in Voorhees, N.J.

"Her 'Tragedies' are my happiness," kibitzes the savvy filmmaker, who also teaches screenwriting at his alma mater, Tel Aviv University.

This film, Gabizon's third, is telling in what it says about emotional complexities, examining not just the young boy's evolution into manhood but his visceral tangle of love and lust for his Aunt Nina, whose husband has been killed by terrorists.

If the filmmaker succeeds at stripping away a victim's veneer, then maybe it's because he believes his stories should bare all to be bearable. "Every writer has two sides to him – two characters – the voyeur and the nudist," says Gabizon.

Peeping … Savi? In a way, he says. "When you pick up a phone and hear a conversation on it … if you hang up, you're polite." And if you continue to listen? "You're a writer," he purports.

The write stuff he's got: "Shuroo" and "Lovesick on Nana Street," his first two features before "Nina's Tragedies," were triumphs, too, garnering 15 Israeli Academy Awards between them.

Is it impolitic for an Israeli director these days not to make political films, such as Gabizon is doing? "I prefer to deal with human souls," he says. "When you deal with the political situations, you are pushed to the place where there are no nuances."

New to the American film scene, Gabizon wouldn't mind going Hollywood, taking his talents for a swing along Hollywood and Vine.

After all, there aren't too many filmmakers around so adept at writing women's parts. He laughs. "I don't write women. I write myself. Maybe I have some woman hidden inside me."

No hidden talent here; Gabizon is a find to treasure. As for shifting from Hebrew to English in trying to create a dialogue with American audiences, Gabizon claims he won't have a problem.

"The languages are the same," he says. "Both are from the heart."



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