‘A Tale Of Love And Darkness’ Is Just Natalie Portman’s First Step

Natalie Portman has made a name for herself as a rare talent in front of the camera, but that’s not really where her love of films lies. Portman reveals that she’s far more interested in the roles that take place behind the camera, roles Natalie indulged with the production of A Tale of Love and Darkness.

For the compelling film, which is based on the memoirs of journalist Amos Oz, Portman took on three roles: actress, screenwriter, and director. Now, as A Tale of Love and Darkness is ready to be shown on that big silver screen, Ms. Portman shares her hopes that this won’t be her last experience as a filmmaker.

For Natalie Portman, The Drama Of A Tale Of Love And Darkness Is Personal

Hailing from Israel, where she was born to a Jewish family, Natalie reveals that the story of A Tale of Love and Darkness has held personal meaning for her from the very beginning. Perhaps that’s why, as New York Daily News says, Portman has taken great pride in writing the script and directing the film. For the actress-turned-filmmaker, it wasn’t enough just to star in the film. She wanted to have a hand or two in creating A Tale of Love and Darkness.

The film adaptation of Amos Oz’s memoirs tells the story of Amos as a boy (Amir Tessler), watching the newly formed state of Israel adapt to political changes, as he, himself, grows from a boy into a man. This emotional journey for Amos is guided by the most influential person in his life: his mother.

A survivor of the Holocaust, Fania Oz (Portman) is colored by her experiences, having mostly lost the will to indulge in dreams, but that doesn’t keep her from doting on her son. Most days, Portman’s character is happy to educate her son with stories and lessons about real life, but her bad days are marred by a lifeless melancholia, as she self-commits herself to bed rest.

A Tale of Love and Darkness uses facial expression and well-placed silence to tell the story just as expertly as the spoken word. Portman also limits the use of violence, recognizing that the dismal feel of A Tale of Love and Darkness is already too oppressive.

Natalie Portman Reveals Why She Chose To Make A Tale Of Love And Darkness Her First Film

Alluding to the possibility that there will be more films Ms. Portman would be interested in directing and writing, the actress turned filmmaker tells The Boston Globe that choosing to make A Tale of Love and Darkness her first film was really no choice at all. Natalie says she read Amos Oz’s memoir as early as 2005 or 2006 and, upon reading the words, she was immediately drawn in and could envision the film within her mind. Portman immediately contacted Oz, hoping to get the rights to adapt the book for film, and she found him to be warm and accepting from the very beginning.

“I was very lucky to get to know him during this process,” said Ms. Portman. “He is a very wonderful man, and his wife is also wonderful; and they have been very supportive.”

Going for a very authentic film, Natalie chose to shoot A Tale of Love and Darkness in Hebrew with English subtitles. Ms. Portman revealed that she was pressured to just make the film in English, but she held her ground. She says she believes a filmmaker has to make the absolute best film he or she can and, for Natalie, that meant filming A Tale of Love and Darkness in Hebrew.

“And when you make the best movie it will always connect with people in a profound way. People can sense authenticity,” Ms. Portman said. “When you make a movie in a country in a language they don’t speak you right off the bat are lessening authenticity.”

In agreeing to give Natalie the rights to adapt his memoir, Amos asked her not to try to explain Fania’s motives or her depression-prone personality. Instead, he asked Portman to leave those facets a mystery, much as they were for Oz, himself.

“People have tried to adopt the book before and create an easy explanation — so you have an easy sense of satisfaction at the end that you know what happened. But it is really a mystery. It’s still a mystery to me and to respect that.”

[Image via Focus World]