“JERUSALEM IS FULL OF USED JEWS”
YEHUDA AMICHAI’S POEMS OF JERUSALEM (2006)
46’ 27” Minutes
subtitles: English
Pal and NTSC Beta SP, DVD and VHS

Synopsis
Poem1
Poem2
Video Clip
Screening History
International Distribution
Contact
Production Team
External Links


The documentary's soundtrack contains Amichai himself reading his poem When I Die in his own voice.
“When I die, I want only women from the burial society to treat me and do with my body as their pretty eyes see fit, and clean my ears of the last words I heard, and wipe my lips of the last words I said, and erase from my eyes the things I saw, and smooth my brow of worry, and fold my arms upon my chest Like the sleeves of a shirt after ironing, and salve my flesh with scented oil anointing me King of Death for a day.”


SYNOPSIS

Yehuda Amichai has been Israel's best-known poet and the most widely translated. He was born in Wurzburg, Germany, in 1924, and immigrated with his family to Palestine in 1936. Although his upbringing was religious, upon reaching maturity Amichai became secular. In the university he studied Biblical texts and Hebrew literature. W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas influenced Amichai poems. Sketching from various strata of language - from Biblical, Talmudic and classical to post-modern Hebrew - Amichai was a magician of words. Much of his work is autobiographical. "My personal history has coincided with a larger history," he said. "For me it's always been one and the same." Ted Hughes made Amichai's work known to English and American readers. His poetry has been translated into 33 languages and his readings draw large crowds in Germany (German was his native language) and all over the United States.
In many of his poems that are addressed to Jerusalem, Amichai express his deep love to the city, its history and commoners, while showing disgust and repulsion toward its politicians and agitators.

The Israeli author Meir Shalev is interviewed in the documentary. Shalev describes Amichai’s poetical attitude to Jerusalem:

“I think, first of all, that he doesn’t fall for her lies and her make-up and her masks. He’s not impressed by things that others would kill or die for. He demands the respect he deserves as a man who lives in this city. He points out the weakness Jerusalem has for the dead. He says that the water level here is lower than the dead, and “water” symbolizes the living, of course. He says that the dead are gradually surrounding the city, referring to Herman Melville, who was in the city 150 years ago and said that Jerusalem is surrounded by cemeteries, and the dead are its most powerful guild. And he says that this is the only city on Earth where even the dead have freedom of choice and I would go further and say: Only the dead have freedom of choice, because the fate and future of the city are determined by the dead”.

Amichai’s close friend, the poet Haim Gouri, analyzes his poem “Jerusalem is Full of Used Jews”:

“’Jerusalem is Full of Used Jews’ - It’s the name of a poem, right? It’s such a provocative title, ‘Used Jews’...’ Jerusalem is full of tired Jews. And they are whipped anew on Memorial Day and holidays, like dancing bears with aching legs. And the eye looks to Zion Looks and weeps’...  ‘Looks and weeps.’ Amichai took the line: ‘As long as deep in the heart... eye looks to Zion’ from the Israeli national Anthem, Hatikva, and phrased it ‘Looks and weeps.’ His ability... his myth debunking and his anti-pathos, his profound use of historical memory, these are typical Amichai combinations, no one here wrote like this before him”.

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“Jerusalem is full of
used Jews,

Second-hand Jews with
minor flaws, cheaper.

And the eye looks to Zion

Looks all the time.

And all of the eyes of the living
and the dead are cracked like eggs

On the edge of the bowl,

to make the city rich and fat
and puffy.

And the eye looks to Zion

Looks all the time.

 

Jerusalem is full of tired Jews

And they are whipped anew on
Memorial Day and holidays

Like dancing bears with aching legs

And the eye looks to Zion

Looks and weeps”

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If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem

If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Then let my right be forgotten.
Let my right be forgotten, and my left remember.
Let my left remember, and your right close
And your mouth open near the gate.

What does Jerusalem need?
She doesn’t need a mayor,

She needs a circus manager,
with a whip in his hand

to tame prophesies and to train
prophets to gallop in circles,

and to teach her stones to form a
daring, dangerous building

for the finale. Then they jump down...”

 

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VIDEO CLIP

 

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SCREENING HISTORY

Gala Screening: Jerusalem, Smadar Theater at the German Colony, March 2005

Television networks:

TV premiere: Israel Channel 2, April 2005

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INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION

michael.karpin@gmail.com

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CONTACT

For Lectures' Booking - Screenings - Conferences - Queries
E-mail Michael Karpin:

michael.karpin@gmail.com  

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PRODUCTION TEAM

Cameraman: Yuval Cohen
2ND Cameraman: Yaron Levinson

Cameramen Assistant: Ron Ber-Chaim
Sound Recordings: Nir Cinnamon; Rami Yatzkan
Editor: Yuval Cohen
Costume Designer: Limor Tov
Makeup: Rachel Gabriel
Script Girl: Gili Peled
Melodies: Eldad Shrem, David Broza

Composed Songs Especially for this Film:
“Jerusalem Is full of Used Jews” - melody by Eldad Shrem
“They burn the photos of divided Jerusalem” – Melody by Eldad Shrem
“If I forget thee Jerusalem” – Melody by David Broza
“Letter of Recommendation” – Melody by Eldad Shrem

Read Songs:
“Tourists”
“On Yom Kippur in 1967
“In the old city”

Extras:
students from Jerusalem School of Visual Theater

Producer: Avraham Kushnir
Produced by Tura Communications

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EXTERNAL LINKS

Amichai's official site
http://www.ithl.org.il/amichai/

Amichai poems
http://www.ithl.org.il/amichai/poem1.html
http://www.poemhunter.com/yehuda-amichai/

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