A Tale of Love and Darkness

Synopsis: Based on the international best-seller by Amos Oz, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS is the story of his youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell, become the stories we live.
Director(s): Natalie Portman
Production: Focus World
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

Go to sleep.

I'm not tired.

All right.

Let's make up a story.

Shall I start?


Once upon a time

there was a village,


by its inhabitants...

Even the rats left.

Even the rats left.

The village stood silent

and abandoned, year after year.

Rain pounded the streets,

washing away any human trace.

When the rats cleared,

birds swarmed over the village.

There were so many, they

almost blocked out the sky.

It was night, all day long.

But then,

from one small house...

A little boy opened the door.

He was the only one

left behind.

My mother was 38 when she died.

At my age today,

I could be her father.

Many things have happened

in Jerusalem.

The city was

destroyed, rebuilt,

destroyed and rebuilt again.

Conqueror after conqueror

came, ruled for a while,

left behind some walls,

some towers,

some cracks in the stones,

and then disappeared,

like the morning mist

down the hillslopes.

Jerusalem's a black widow,

who devours her lovers while

they are still inside her.

We're late.

The boy, arieh.

My mother grew up

in the town of rovno,

which was then in Poland,

and is now in Ukraine.

Her childhood there

was made up of words like...

Chandeliers, servants,


romantic melancholy...

As anti-semitism spread

through Europe...

My mother

dreamed of Israel...

As the land

of milk and honey,

where pioneers

made the desert bloom...

She imagined the pioneer as

a poet, worker, revolutionary,

born for fields

and battlefields alike,

but also emotional

and intellectual.

After my mother

and her family fled Europe,

back in Poland's

sosenki forest,

where my mother

and her sisters

once loved to pick

mushrooms and berries,

and sleep

in sleeping bags

on the riverbank

beneath the stars.

Germans, Lithuanians,

and Ukrainians,

opened fire

with machine guns,

and killed 23,000 Jews

in two days.

They killed almost everyone

my mother had ever known.

A million kiddies...

A million kiddies...

They killed a million kids

like you!

Jerusalem, 1945,

under the British mandate

good day, ma'am.

May I please have Tel Aviv 648?

Please wait a minute, sir.

Mr. nashashibi is on the way.

Of course I'll wait,

but people are waiting

on the other end too.

It's too early, arieh.

It will take time

to get a connection.

What if they connect us

right way,

and nobody is there yet?

Hello? Tsvi?


It's arieh, from Jerusalem.

Yes, arieh. Hello.

This is tsvi. How are you?

Everything is fine here.

We're calling

from the pharmacy.

Ask my sister how she is.

How's it going in Tel Aviv?

Everything's fine.

Nothing special.


No news is good news.

There's no news here either.

We'll write and set a time

for the next call.

Take care of yourselves.

Be well.

You too.

They weren't actually sure

if they'd talk again or not.

There could be riots,

or a pogrom.

The British could betray us.

The curfew will start soon.


Good evening.

Good evening.

Close the windows!

Close the doors, please.

They're all gone now.

It's like rovno

was just a dream.

It's here.

A new book,

hot off the press.

My first book.

The novella

in Hebrew literature.

It's like having a new baby.

I'll invite your parents.

"To my brother

and teacher, David,

whom I lost

in the darkness."

Who said your uncle

would be

the only important

academic in the family?

Well, it's only

my first publication.

And not the last.

The borscht is good.

Not bad...

Almost tasty.

But even gentile servants

in Jewish homes

knew that borscht should be

sour and just slightly sweet--

never sweet and slightly sour.

Like the poles who always add

sugar, with no rhyme or reason.

They even ruin horseradish

by adding jam to it.

Let's raise a toast

in honor of the new book.



If you have to choose

between telling a lie

or insulting someone,

choose to be generous.

I'm allowed to lie?

Sometimes... yes.

It's better to be sensitive

than to be honest.

Come, hold the peg.

We'll make

our own little kibbutz,

and by our own efforts, "bring

forth bread from the earth."


You know, the word

"kadima" means forward.


The word actually derives

from the word "kedem,"

which refers to

"ancient times." Ahh!


So the Hebrew speaker actually

looks forward to the past.

Interesting, isn't it?


Are you hurt?


Can you recognize me

under all this sweat?

Watch this.


That's it!

My father once told me,

"Amos, consider

the etymological link

between the words...

Earth, man,

blood, red, silence."

You write a new novel

every six months,

and right away, all the pretty

girls grab you off the shelf

and take you

straight to bed.

At least my books

have some fun.

If you're trying to get girls,

maybe you should write

romance novels.

All I'm saying is,

don't rush.

Ask your sisters.

Your life is only your own

for a very short time--

from the time you leave home

to your first pregnancy.

Even when your child grows up,

you don't get your life back.

You go from being a mother

to a grandmother.

But everybody says

that children

are the best thing

that can happen to you.

Who's everybody?

Remember what happened

to our neighbor?


Steletsky's wife.

Yes, the alcoholic husband,

who ran

our father's flour mill.

He would bet on her

at cards, and lose her,

each time for one night,

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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman (born Neta-Lee Hershlag; June 9, 1981) is an actress, film producer and director with dual Israeli and American citizenship. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. Portman made her feature film debut as the young protégée of a hitman in Léon: The Professional (1994). While still in high school, she gained international recognition for starring as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and received critical acclaim for playing a precocious teenager in the drama Anywhere but Here (both 1999). From 1999 to 2003, Portman attended Harvard University for a bachelor's degree in psychology. She continued acting while at university, starring in The Public Theater's 2001 revival of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull and the sequel Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002). In 2004, Portman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for playing a mysterious stripper in Closer. The Star Wars prequel trilogy concluded with Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), following which Portman portrayed a wide variety of roles. She played Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta (2006), Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and a troubled ballerina in the psychological horror film Black Swan (2010), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Portman went on to star in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached (2011) and featured as Jane Foster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013). For portraying Jacqueline Kennedy in the biopic Jackie (2016), Portman received her third Oscar nomination. Portman's directorial ventures include the short film Eve (2008) and the biographical drama A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015). In 2008, she served as the youngest jury member of the Cannes Film Festival. Portman is vocal about the politics of America and Israel, and is an advocate for animal rights and environmental causes. She is married to the dancer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she has two children. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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