Mendelsohn's Incessant Visions
"A fascinating and thrilling cinematic interpretation of the life story of Erich and Louise ..."
"A story of bravery, genius, infidelity, triumph and tragedy"
St. Louis Beacon
"A great film and not just for architecture buffs ... so well-made!"
"Not only a fascinating biography ... intimately reveals Mendelsohn's stunning work"
Read StorylineThe three Darwish brothers, who immigrated from Iraq to Israel in the 50’s, established the family factory “Fantasia” - a menorah factory. For a time period of 50 years they designed, manufactured and shipped Chanukah menorahs for the entire world and now…the family factory is about to close down. From this point in time, the director, who is the son of the youngest brother, is starting to embark on a journey that unravels the history of his family, going back 100 years. The story weaves memories from Iraq and Israel - two homelands, two languages, two identities, two enemies. The director is trying to reconstruct the narrative of his family, a narrative that has disappeared in the silence and shame that followed the family move to Israel. The father’s silence is finally broken by the director’s relentless inquiries, which reveal a story about 5 lost years of his father in the Iraqi prison. It is a diary film shot over a period of 10 years.
I grew up in Tel Aviv and, to my surprise, in 2003, UNESCO announced Tel Aviv as a World Heritage Site. I looked at Tel Aviv as a very ugly, unsympathetic place, and I didn't understand why it was chosen for conservation. I was intrigued to understand what this was about. I started looking at the buildings, trying to figure out what was behind the peeling plaster and the soot. I started looking for the beauty and the aesthetic. So I talked to architects and that is how I first heard of Erich Mendelsohn. He was someone who greatly influenced the spirit of the places where he lived, and his spirit is still alive in these places today. However, history hasn’t remembered him. His life story drew me into deep research for about seven years.
The key to the story was in the ties and tensions between Mendelsohn and his wife Louise. She was a beautiful muze, a German Jew and he was an Ostjuden, a jew from Prussia, an artist. She was much younger than him, but had developed emotional intelligence which he relied on. He was the classic egocentric artist, who moved between despair and uphoria and she was his stability. It was clear that the main story is the relationship between the two, which opened up all the doors to creativity and success for him.
Documentary | Israel, Germany | 2011
Subtitles: French, English, German
Director: Duki Dror
Script: Galia Engelmayer Dror
Cinematography: Philippe Bellaiche
Editor: Chen Shelach