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Leon's No Newsletter 229


It was fascination I know……The Creativity of Israel

As I write this letter I am listening to my favorite music. This is a list of hundreds of songs collected by my computer from the ones I’ve listened to most. My computer has remembered the songs that I’ve forgotten and when I hear them now I think to myself “what is that song? Where did I hear it? Why am I so fascinated by it? Why do I love it so much?”.

This is like it says in Nate King Cole’s famous song “Fascination”.

It was fascination

I know

And it might have ended

Right then, at the start

Just a passing glance

Just a brief romance And I might have gone

On my way

Empty hearted

Then I touch your hand

And next moment

I kiss you

Fascination turned to love

As it says there “fascination” turns to love. Fascination is what draws us to take a closer look at something and when we do sometimes we fall in love with it.

For example I didn’t think about how much I loved the song “Agnes and the burning train” by the Zebra Crossing String Quartet until it suddenly came up on my computer. I don’t even remember listening to such a song. If you would have asked me a moment ago: “hey! Leon! What do you think about that song “Agnes and the burning train?” I would have told you to jump in the lake and desist from mocking me with stupid questions.

Subconsciously we experience something that rings a bell in our mind. We don’t even know that we’re experiencing the thing and suddenly find ourselves in a torrid love affair with it, sometimes it’s another person and sometimes it’s a song or a picture.

It reminds me of some books I’ve read like “The Fair Fight” by Anna Freeman which I just could not put down, even for a moment until I had read every word. This is because something fascinated me in that book. On the other hand I picked up another book, “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, the writer’s name is difficult to remember, but it’s an interesting, well written book, with an interesting story but I put it down and pick it up again only when I have a spare moment. I wouldn’t call it a compelling book, nowhere near as compelling as “The Fair Fight”.

It’s just that “The Fair Fight” is fascinating and “Americanah” isn’t.

There’s no doubt that writing a fascinating book is an art, which means it is a secret that only gifted writers possess and have to work very hard at discovering. Discovering a secret of any kind is difficult that’s why it’s not common to find great artists.

A few weeks ago, during a break in my touring I attended the Docaviv Film Festival of documentary films. After I had seen 4 films in one day I came to the conclusion that all documentaries, as long as they are well made are always fascinating and the thing that makes them fascinating is that they are true stories about events that really happened and so I never tired of seeing them, unlike fiction films which are only sometimes fascinating but mostly not.

One of the films was “Keep on keeping on” about the work of a legendary Jazz musician, Clarke Terry, in teaching young musicians even to the age of 90 or so. This is the movie of a true event that takes place over a period of 4 years and it’s totally absorbing, full of fun, music and sadness just like real life, because it is real life.

On the other hand the movie “Back to the Future”, is an example of a movie that is so totally boring that Tamar, my granddaughter, her friend Michelle and I walked out in disgust and it proves my point that a movie which is obviously fiction is boring, because our minds can’t bridge the gap between truth that we’re familiar with and fiction, which we know nothing about.

My conclusion is that truth is fascinating and fiction is boring unless it appears true.

I also saw a brilliant movie where the story was definitely fictitious yet it could be true and had all the trappings of truth. I highly recommend this movie, an Israeli movie called “The words of kindness”.

One of the documentaries I saw actually had the appearance of fiction with scenes of idyllic beauty as if taken from a book of fairy tales. Even the story looked and felt like a fairytale and again I highly recommend it for beautiful entertainment, because it’s a true story. It’s a Korean movie called “My Love don’t cross that river. Wonderful movie, true but it had the appearance of fiction straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

My own personal fascination is really with the Jewish People, the Land of Israel and the Jewish Religion. A creative spirit springs out of the synthesis of these three phenomena. Each one by itself is an interesting phenomenon but the three together are a dynamic force driving creativity. I find it fascinating because it’s a real dramatic event taking place in my lifetime. It’s actually like being in a great, fascinating, true movie..

One can witness this creativity in many spheres of life in Israel but, in my opinion filmography, films that tell a story and entertain is the most fascinating of all modern Israel creations.

Most fascinating of all is that it’s coming out of Shderot, a city on the border of Gaza, with tongues of fire in the form of rockets, all around, turning it into a seething hot furnace, but instead of shriveling up like cinders, good movies are coming out of it, just as good steel comes out of a forge. The movies are red hot and I was there to see them for one short morning at the Annual Shederot Film Festival

Shderot must be the most dramatic place in the world to see films that are full of drama. I expect that these films will be shown in other, more peaceful cities of the world but I doubt if audiences there will be as fascinated as we were in Shderot.

I’ve always enjoyed film festivals, no matter where I’ve seen them, but riding the bus from Jerusalem to Ashkelon then waiting for another bus to take me to Shderot, I felt like a kid on an adventure. I had no idea what films I was going to see yet when I saw them it was as if this is what I expected all the time.Most of the movies were produced by students at Sapir College, in Shderot.

Watching these movies was like seeing a creation just after it was created and hadn’t been used yet. That’s how the Jewish Pioneers must have felt when they picked their first orange from a tree that they had planted. That was creation at the beginning of the return of the Jews to Israel, producing films in Shderot is the continuation of that great venture, now we can see that there’s more creations to come.

The longer the Jews live in their land the stronger the creative spirit grows and the more sophisticated and fascinating they become.

Wishing you a great no newsday

Yours Truly

Leon Gork

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