Amos Gitai: Territories
The most internationally famous of Israeli filmmakers, Amos Gitai is best known abroad for his fictional work, but he’s also made a reputation (and stirred up considerable trouble at home) as a documentarian. The three-disc box Territories collects six Gitai documentaries: House (1980) and House in Jerusalem (1997), which explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via the history of an East Jerusalem house; the Wadi: Grand Canyon trilogy (1981–2001), three films about a group of Israelis and Arabs struggling to peacefully co-exist; and the controversial Field Diary (1982), set primarily in the West Bank around the time of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
This Dickens adaptation struck some as an odd choice for Roman Polanski’s follow-up to the Cannes and Oscar triumphs of The Pianist. While the movie may ultimately rank as minor Polanski, the director’s obvious personal investment in the material and characteristically subtle visual brilliance make it well worth a look. Polanski and Pianist screenwriter Ronald Harwood render the Dickens novel as the horror story it always was, that of a small child alone in a brutal, implacable world, and the Prague locations appear scarcely less forbidding than the Nazi-occupied ghettos of the earlier film.