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What’s a filmmaker to do when his career is in tatters, when his personal life is hopelessly troubled, and he’s utterly bereft of artistic inspiration?
Why, make another film, of course.
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That, at least, is the strategy pursued by the indefatigable Amos Kollek, whose credits include Goodbye New York, Forever Lulu and Fast Food, Fast Women.
Depressed and adrift after the ignominious failure of 2003’s Happy End starring Audrey Tautou (its original title of Nowhere to Go But Up proving all too ironic), Kollek embarked on a program of artistic therapy by directing his attention towards himself.
The result, Chronicling a Crisis, is an admittedly harrowing exercise in solipsism that will be of little interest to anyone besides the director’s diehard fans and perhaps his therapist.
It does at least boast the presence of an undeniably arresting figure—Teddy Kollek, Amos’ father who was the mayor of Jerusalem during the turbulent years of 1965-1993. Now in his nineties, the once dynamic politician is now infirm and mostly silent, and the contentious if loving relationship between him and his son is one of the film’s central themes.
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Indeed, Amos clearly still has daddy issues, as evidenced by his confession that he once wished Teddy wouldn’t run for re-election because of his own need for attention and his forlornly asking the principal investor of several of his films whether he did so because of his father.
Another figure on frequent display is Robin Remias, a drug-addicted Lower East Side prostitute who Kollek befriends with the idea that she may become his next leading lady. But while the emaciated, frequently semi-nude Remias does display a certain charisma even while she’s seen shooting up, she’s not exactly in the same league as such previous Kollek-directed performers as Debbie Harry and Anna Thomson. The latter is seen in a brief cameo, as is Ally Sheedy, who wisely resists Kollek’s attempt to enlist her for his next project.
Shot crudely on video and featuring extensive distorting close-ups of Kollek as he trains his camera on himself, the long-gestating Chronicling a Crisis displays fearlessness on the part of its struggling filmmaker. But that doesn’t make it any easier to sit through.
Opens May 4
Production: Am Ko Productions, Pie Films, Hamon Hafakot Productions.
Director/screenwriter/director of photography: Amos Kollek.
Producers: Michael Tapuach, Talia Kleinhendler.
Executive producers: Osnat Shalev, Amos Kollek.
Editor: Miki Kohn.
Music: Robert Aaron.
No rating, 90 min.
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