The Israel Film Fund Collection

Eastern Wind

89 Minutes, 1983
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Directed by: Daniel Wachsmann
Cast: Shlomo Tarshish, Ruth Geller, Yasein Shawaf, Hemda Levi, Salim Dau
Production:Yakov Lifshin
Photographer: David Gurfinkel
Original Music: Raviv Gazit
Languages: Hebrew, Arabic
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Director Daniel Wachsmann’s film was one of the first to have ever featured the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the heart of the plot, whilst also including the Palestinian side of things which Wachsmann set about doing by hiring a Palestinian cast, featuring a complex multi-layered Palestinian main protagonist, and using Arabic dialogue in a local Palestinian dialect.
This effectively rendered Eastern Wind the first ever feature in Israeli film’s ‘Palestinian Wave’ (a term coined by Cultural Studies professor and film scholar, Ella Shohat).
Eastern Wind is a political melodrama with a Western-esque tinge, at the heart of which is a land feud in the Galilee between local Jews and Palestinians. Gedaliah, a cattle farmer, approaches his old friend, Abu Yusuf, and proposes to buy his land off him before it is nationalised by the state. The young Arab locals are fuming at the proposed deal and thus, a violent fight to thwart it ensues. Against the backdrop of all this unrest, Chava – Gedaliah’s sister, starts a romantic relationship with Khaled – her brother’s Arab workman. Themes of man vs. nature, the scorching hot Galilee nights, sweat and passion – all are highlighted by the extraordinary David Gurfinkel’s expressive cinematography work. The film won the Silver Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival, and the Department of Industry and Commerce’s Israel Film Centre awards for Best Film and Best Director.

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