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locationshypnotic hell
documentary. 50 minutes. english. stereo. beta sp. made in israel.
comissioned by the israeli fund for original documentary films.

shooting drama in israel from the whore houses of the red zone, via the set of an indian film on location, to the ship's grave yard - a hypnotic journey along the streets of bombay, india, seen through the innocent eyes of a westerner, who despite the alienation, finds himself magnetized by the people and the mesmerizing reality of the streets.



film distribution israelfestivals:
idfa- amsterdam international documentary festival
izmir international film festival
taiwan international documentary festival
international film festival gera, germany
international film festival bangladesh



director :
camera :
music :
editing :
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production :
percussion :
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sound design :


micha kovler
barak tal
israel bright
micha kovler
michal nevo
hocus focus films., ltd.
boris sekhon
gavin goodweek
gadi reik
micha kovler


barak tal
avi yedid
amit broyer
lee ehrlich
uri montilya
michal alpren
sigalit banay
bat-chen kovler
avraham blonder

additional music:

mangal dhwani - flute
lt. hari prasad chawasia
raga: alap
raga: manj khamaj

director's comments

something about starting a film, images, reality and authenticity.

ingmar bergman r.i.p: "a beginning of a film, most of all, is like a brightly colored thread sticking out of the dark sack of the unconscious. if i begin to wind up this thread, and do it carefully, a complete film will emerge".

for me, it was the streets of bombay who were filling up my subconscious with colorful threads. i would see unusual situations and images, never knowing when they would come my way, but soon realizing they would influence my life, the way i see and respond to reality, and the way i would make films.

a recurring theme in all my films is the perception of reality: the way people apprehend reality and react to it. israel is a country over saturated by reality; not much space is left for imagination.

israelis are reality addicts. this may account for why almost every young israeli goes through an escapism phase once completing his three years army service: a trip to the far east, starting in india. for most israelis, india has become part of their conscious; a process one goes through, shaping one's cognition and self.

'hypnotic hell' - my film, interweaves three different kinds of realities: the one of the tourist; the one of the indian people, and finally, while taking a look at india's own escapism - their huge film industry, creating an utopian reality on the white screen. nothing prepared me for bombay.

one can tell you what a slap in the face means, but that's not the same as actually getting one, is it?

everything was unfamiliar in bombay. the smell, the colour of the air, the sound, the people, the language, the sun light, the streets. everything. there are quite a few filmmakers who feel the camera protects them, shielding them from their subjects.

since i was after an intimate look into the lives and reality of india, i felt as if the camera was emphasizing me being an outsider, someone who looks upon, which could easily be seen as criticizing. and that only added to the feeling of alienation, of culture shock.

culture shock is a very difficult feeling to describe. how do you express, in a visual language, fear, alienation, discomfort? once i was able to define the force behind these feelings, i was able to find the image i was looking for: 'the unknown coming out of the dark.'

in my film-making, and throughout "hypnotic hell", there's s a quest for authenticity. as a tourist in a foreign land one may at first encounter "tourist attractions & traps": the elephants, the cobra, the fortune tellers. but as one gets rid of ones fears and inhibitions, one may find oneself in more authentic situations, becoming an integral part of the place.

the culmination of the quest for authenticity in 'hypnotic hell', is "the girl who sings". and when we finally meet her, we know: the quest has come to it's resolution. this girl is part of the street, the people, the music, but on the other hand she has to sing for a living, exemplifying the silent cry of the people of india which the world doesn't hear.