There are no Lions in Tel Aviv


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The story of the chief Rabbi of Copenhagen's Jewish community, who would come to be known as Rabbi Doolittle. Arriving in Tel Aviv in 1935, Max Shorenstein left his honorable position, in order to fulfill a longtime dream: to build a zoo and teach the children of Palestine-Eretz Israel about the love of animals. His dream had come true and against all odds, the Tel Aviv Zoo became the city's greatest attraction. Yet the envy, greed and corruption by city officials had him banished from the very paradise he himself built. It is a tale of a city raised from sand, only to become an international cultural and financial hub a century later, and the price that was paid for this exponential growth.

I am very attracted to people or topics that no one else will deal with. Unnamed, unknown heroes. People who have had or are having a very big impact but which no one notices, or topics that are not commonly dealt with. In There are No Lions in Tel Aviv (2019), I reveal the story of Rabbi Shorenstein, from Denmark. Perhaps everyone knew about the Tel Aviv Zoo, but most people have not heard the story of the man behind it. A man, who loved animals and had a dream to build a zoo, which he fulfilled, but from which he was later cruelly expelled. I'm attracted to these stories of dreamers, who have to fight against the establishment to fulfill their dream. It's something within me, the ground is unsafe, unsteady. You have to be on the move all the time. You are constantly in motion. This is how I perceive my characters, they all are going through some kind of journey.

The film is a trip back to my childhood experience in Tel Aviv, on the rooftops above the city, right behind the zoo, that’s where my playground was. And that’s where I could have some space alone, away from my family. A space for contemplation.

Documentary   |   Israel   |   2019  

63 min


Subtitles: English

Director: Duki Dror   

Producer: Liat Kamai Eshed 

Script: Duki Dror & Carmit Sapir Weitz   

Cinematography: Ron Katzenelson 

Editor: Ron Goldman   

Music: Frank Ilfman