The issue of War widow representation in Israeli cinema is one of the most complex for the local industry for it seems to be unique and with a very local and specific iconography.
The war Widow is a difficult character to digest. Because this is an especially painful topic in Israel, its mode of representation is almost always problematic.
Gila Almagor in Tofano’s “siege” is one of the first characters of the “modern” war widows to appear on Israeli cinema screens.
The human and social complexity of the status of widows was not represented adequately and personally until her complex and fine appearance in this film.
It was mostly Preceded by cliches of heroic women who have sacrificed for the nation with characters to which it was very difficult to get attached, nor to their personal grief.
“Siege” was directed by an unknown Italian director of that period. Although Gilberto Tofano was brought as a professional director on the wings of inspiration made by the French New Wave of those years, he managed to turn out a very exciting work which has caught the Israeli warmth and sense of social siege which surrounds the Israeli widows, including the great expectations from them and the social stigmas.
Tofano wrapped his leading lady with lots of warmth and gave a place of honor to Almagor’s impressive presence in the film.
This is without a doubt one of Almagor’s best and most accurate performances. The restraint in her performance plus the shooting and expressive use of angles by Tofano and his soft European touch which was far off from the aggressive local product managed to produce a sense of documenting an authentic tragedy with a tangible personal touch that minimized the national dimension. The result stands the test of time proudly several decades after its creation.
Matzor (Hebrew: מצור, translit. Siege) is a 1969 Israeli film directed by Italian director Gilberto Tofano. It involves the theme of a widowed mother (actress Gila Almagor), her lover (actor Dahn Ben Amotz) and ex-husband friend (actor Yehoram Gaon). The war-widow is pressured by her friends to behave in the role of the heroic widow, and her journey takes her to a country of people under siege It was entered into the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. The film was also selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 42nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
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