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Joseph Bau
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Joseph Bau – The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive – Most likely early 1960s

Details about the production of this film are scarce, however it does appear to have been made in the early 1960s as it shares its name with a government PR campaign of the time. Whether this was a commissioned film or an independent project of Bau’s is anyone’s guess. At the time, Bau was mostly making adverts, but also films with a personal statement.

Joseph Bau was one of the pioneers of Israeli animation, and possibly the first to have drawn, directed, animated, and literally built the camera with which he made his films. All in all, Bau was a highly creative individual. On the website dedicated to his memory, he is described as an animator, illustrator, painter, graphic designer, confidant, linguist, author, poet, publisher, and social justice warrior. Born in Krakow, Poland in 1920, art was the thing that got Bau through the war and camps. He spent five years in ghettos and forced labour camps where his impeccably forged certificates saved the lives of around 400 Jews. After the war, Bau moved to Israel and set up a studio in Tel Aviv where he made captions, credits, and caricatures for many films, wrote books in Hebrew and Polish, and further pursued his certificate-forging craft – this time for Mossad.

Bau was also an animation pioneer in Israel where he made a number of short PR and comms films, all boasting a minimalist graphic style in line with the European trends of the day. This film, much like the whole campaign, holds a critical mirror to the ‘Sabra’s’ face (and personality) through a tourist’s point of view. All the informal, freewheeling, “don’t worry about it!” Israelisms are all portrayed through the taxi driver who cons the unsuspecting tourist. That said, at the same time the campaign also appeals to the “famous Israeli warmth and solidarity” by urging the locals to be welcoming and kind to tourists. Tel Aviv and Jaffa each play their part as the star attractions – Jaffa for its past and history, and Tel Aviv for its cutting-edge modernity.

Courtesy of Joseph Bau family.

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