David Perlov (1930-2003) was a director and film teacher and is considered one of the forefathers of modern Israeli film, with a body of work that, in 1999, earned him an Israel Prize for Cinematic Achievements. After he had moved to Israel from his native Brazil, Perlov began directing a host of documentaries, PR and comms films, and other commissions for the Israel Film Service. In 1963, whilst still with the Film Service, he directed the documentary masterpiece, In Jerusalem, that earned him a bronze medal at the Venice Film Festival.

Following In Jerusalem, Perlov went on to direct a series of documentary shorts including Tel Katzir (1964), and Theatre in Israel (1967). In 1968, he directed his debut narrative feature, The Pill – an utterly unhinged fantasy written by Nissim Aloni whose theatrical release was severely delayed to 1972 over a host of behind-the-scenes feuds and budgetary issues. In 1969, Perlov would direct his second and last narrative feature, 42:6 – Ben Gurion – an experimental, modernist film biography of David Ben-Gurion. After the two films had flopped in the box office, both being unorthodox, complex works that were not at all understood in Israel of that time, Perlov walked away from narrative filmmaking and never looked back.

At this stage, between 1973 – 1982, he began shooting an intimate portrait of his family and himself. The end result, Diary: 1973-1983, came out in 1983 – a profoundly intimate and poetic, trailblazing avantgarde work which today, is considered one of documentary film’s all time greatest masterpieces. In Diary: 1973-1983, Perlov observes his own life and lives of his wife and daughters, as well as life in Israel – capturing on film all that is poetic and sublime in the day-to-day.

Highlights of Perlov’s other directorial credits include In Thy Blood Live (1962) which earned a Van Leer Award for Best Short Film, Biba (1977), Memories of the Eichmann Trial (1979), Meetings with Nathan Zach (1996), Anemones (2000), Revised Diary 1990-1999, and My Stills 1952-2002 (2002).

As an immigrant, Perlov observed Israeli reality through foreign eyes. Having travelled to Israel via Paris, where he spent several years in the earliest days of modernist film, Perlov experienced that reality through the eyes of a modernist filmmaker. He therefore set out to make modern films that were essentially different and ‘other’ – an alternative to the hitherto dominant style of filmmaking that predated him in Israel.

In 1973, Perlov became a founding member of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television Studies where he would remain a teacher right up to the end of his life – nurturing and mentoring generations of filmmakers. After his death, his family set up the David Perlov Fund that has since taken to hosting an annual competition whose winner takes home a grant with which to make their documentary. In 2013, the film Footsteps in Jerusalem – a tribute to Perlov made at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School came out to cinemas. The film is a compilation of several shorts inspired by Perlov’s magnum opus, In Jerusalem, and directed by several filmmakers – young and veteran alike including Dan Geva, Nadav Lapid, and David Ofek.

His surviving daughters are film editor, Yael Perlov, and choreographer Naomi Perlov.

Student Film

7 BaTeva (Seven In Nature)

Directed by Shimon Dotan, 1975
7 בטבע

27 min.


42:6 - Ben Gurion

Directed by David Perlov, 1969

103 min.


Aharon Meskin: A Face and a Mask

Directed by Bella Baram, 1968
אהרון מסקין: פנים ומסכה
English subs.

26 min.


In Jerusalem

Directed by David Perlov, 1963
English subs.

31 min.


Production of the Film 42:6

הפקת הסרט 42:6


Director David Perlov Receives The Israeli Film Archive Award

פרס הארכיון הישראלי לסרטים מוענק לבימאי התיעודי דוד פרלוב


In Thy Blood, Live

Directed by David Perlov
בדמייך חיי

18 min.


High Tension

Directed by Emil Knebel, David Perlov
מתח גבוה

11 min.


Tel Katzir

Directed by David Perlov
תל קציר

14 min.



Directed by David Perlov

59 min.

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