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Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2002

'Broken Wings' paints the colors of love

Special to The Japan Times

Soft-spoken and sporting a thick black beard, 33-year-old Nir Bergman is the portrait of a young director. The Israeli filmmaker listens intently and answers questions carefully, as if crafting a script, something he has become adept at doing.

Bergman's parents divorced when he was 10, an event which left an indelible mark on him. Both his award-winning short film "Sea Horses" and his first feature-length film, "Broken Wings," which just captured the Grand Prix at the 2002 Tokyo International Film Festival, are about family. The latter realistically depicts a single mother struggling to keep her family of twin teens and two preadolescent children together and functioning.

The film is about of a mother's trials after her husband dies, how did you shape this idea?

News photo
Nir Bergman, director of "Broken Wings"

Each of the children is hurt in a different place, that was the theme for my writing. Maya [the eldest daughter] is hurt in her heart, guilt feelings together with the love of her father that she has to say goodbye to. Yair, her twin brother, is hurt in the head. The death made him look at the world in a way that makes him rebel against every single thing that grown-ups do, and the mother is hurt in the body. She's slow, heavy, no one has touched her in a long time. So it's a bit like "The Wizard of Oz" in the theme. Everybody is injured in a different way.

It's also my point of view about people. I can look at somebody and say, "This is a body person. His first instincts are what his body needs." For some people, their emotion is the strongest thing. Some people work from the head.

I can even see this in how different peoples approach religion. The way the Jews experience God is more from the head. Christians have a much more emotional experience of God. The Fakirs [Hindus] are really working with their bodies to get a religious experience.

It's a very evocative portrait of a family.

The mother has a different voice for each child, which I think is very common. You never love each child the same, and I'm not weighing which child you love more, but the fact is you don't love them the same way. Love has different colors and, in the film for example, the love the mother has for the little child has to do with the color of guilt. She always feels guilty about him, and you can hear it in her voice. The love for the older son [Yair] is a bit like friends, or a brother-sister love. This is the color of the relationship.

With Maya she treats her as she treats herself, very, very tough. So for Maya love comes in the hardest way, the mother doesn't give her affection and warmth, though she loves her as she loves herself. So she doesn't love any of them more or less, just in different colors.

Your films have had similar themes, is this intentional?

You have this pain you write from. I think this pain often comes from childhood. The pain gives you material for your work and, also, you want to understand why you have this pain. The third thing is, as a kid you use your imagination so hard to try and fix things. So these three things combined go into a writer's work. The inner pain of a writer makes him write.

I feel the film is political metaphor, the father dying is the death of idealism in Israel.

Yes, I agree deeply. The violent death and murder in Israel has made all of us orphans. There is chaos in the country. Everybody is running like mad trying to survive, trying to fulfill themselves, but when you go out of the country you realize how chaotic your life is. We are like orphans, with all the stupid death. What are we fighting for? I think it's totally dumb that we can't work out a settlement that will let both peoples from this country live peacefully.

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