Image from “The Boat,” directed by Nir Bergman in “Sharon Amrani: Remember His Name.”
Crossposted from Midnight East
Ten years ago, on September 8, 2001, a young man drowned in the Mediterranean, just off Manta Ray beach in Tel Aviv. “Bonfire Night” (1998), his graduation film for the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School Jerusalem, tied with fellow classmate Nir Bergman’s “Seahorses” for first prize; an earlier student film, “Imma Mitchatenet Im Avram” (1997) accrued praise as well. He had directed the pilot for the television program “Meurav Yerushalmi,” and had made a witty commercial for Galatz, the IDF radio station, featuring a rocking yeshiva bokher. He had yet to make his first feature film. His name was Sharon Amrani.
Amrani’s films had already awakened the interest of film critic Yair Raveh, who admired the “uncompromising honesty” of “Bonfire Night,” and saw it as a harbinger of a more emotional, personal style in Israeli film. Raveh wrote an article commemorating Amrani’s life and work that was scheduled to headline Ha’ir (The City) magazine. The next day was September 11, 2001. The article receded to the back pages of the magazine, but Raveh did not forget Amrani, and in his observations of the Israeli film scene and its resurgence in the past 10 years he has reflected on how it was forever altered by Amrani’s absence. These musings in turn became a documentary film.