One of the best films I saw at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was director Yaron Zilberman’s Incitement. The film is about the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an ultranationalist (played brilliantly by Yehuda Nahari Halevi) who opposed the leader’s signing of the Oslo Accords (they were a set of agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993). The film does an incredible job placing you in the time period by using actual news footage and focusing on the point of view of the assassin. While I knew about the assassination and what it meant for the Middle East peace process, I was surprised to learn how controversial the Oslo Accords were to many people in Israel and the general mood of the country. The film does an incredible job placing you in the time period and showing you what was going on.
Since world premiering at TIFF, Incitement went on to win Best Film at the Ophir Awards, which is like the Academy Awards in Israel. It’s now going to be the film Israel submits for Best International Film at the Oscars.
Shortly after seeing the film, Yaron Zilberman and Yehuda Nahari Halevi came by the Collider studio at TIFF to talk about the film. During the wide-ranging conversation, Nahari Halevi revealed what he did to deliver such a powerful performance (he went method), how Zilberman worked on the story for four years, what surprised them to learn about the time period and what was building up behind-the-scenes, what it was like screening the film for Yitzhak Rabin’s family, what were they nervous to be able to accomplish with the limitations they had, and so much more. In addition, Zilberman talks about his next project, Valley of Tears, which is an eight episode mini-series about the Yom Kippur war of 1973.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.
We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.
Director Yaron Zilberman and Yehuda Nahari Halevi:
- Balancing fact and fiction when making a movie based on real events.
- How they worked on the story for four years.
- What the film is about.
- How it’s a great role for Yehuda Nahari Halevi but he’s playing a terrible person.
- What Yehuda did to prepare for the role.
- What surprised them to learn about the time period and what was building up behind-the-scenes?
- What were they nervous to be able to accomplish with the limitations they had?
- How Yehuda Nahari Halev did to stay in character during the shoot which involved going method.
- What was it like after he wrapped on the film?
- What did they learn from early screenings that impacted the finished film?
- When did Yehuda see the film for the first time?
- What it was like to screen the film for Yitzhak Rabin’s family.
- Yaron Zilberman talks about his next project, Valley of Tears, which is an eight episode mini-series about the Yom Kippur war of 1973. His series is about the first three days of the war and inspired by real people.