Benny Toraty is a director and screenwriter. His debut short, Yonanam (1988, 30min) won an award at that year’s Jerusalem Film Festival. His first feature-length film, Desperado Square (2001), Toraty made in his early ‘40s. The film went on to win a host of international awards and was showcased at countless festivals worldwide including the Valencia International Film Festival Cinema Jove, and Cinemed: The Montpellier International Film Festival of Mediterranean Cinema. Back in Israel, the film took home five Ophir awards, including one for Best Director.
Desperado Square is Toraty’s longing love letter for his teenage film experiences that have shaped the rest of his career. In the film, he poses questions about Israeli identity and specifically, Israeli-Mizrahi (Jewish Middle-Eastern) identity, whilst at the same time, maintaining a universal tone and feel. These motifs later reemerge in The Ballad of the Weeping Spring, the second in Toraty’s film trilogy (part three has yet to come out.) The Ballad of the Weeping Spring too, is a longing love letter of sorts – this time, for the music that makes up the soundtrack of Toraty’s life – coupled with several of homages to Westerns and Samurai films. The film went on to win four Ophir awards.


Desperate Square

Directed by Benny Toraty, 2000
כיכר החלומות

97 min.

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