Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman on Her New Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ and Being Jewish Anti-Semitic in Europe

Natalie Portman

While promoting her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, Natalie Portman comments on life as a Jew in anti-Semitic Europe.

Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman will make her directorial debut at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival later this month. The Israeli-born actress has adapted and directed a feature film based on Amos Oz’ memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness.

Natalie Portman optioned the film rights to Oz’ autobiographical book eight years ago. It took her the same amount of time to write the script and find funding. She has continuously insisted that the adaptation remain in Hebrew.

The film A Tale of Love and Darkness, following its literary inspiration, centers on the author’s childhood at the end of the British mandate for Palestine and the early years of the state of Israel and Oz’ relationship with his troubled mother, who killed herself when Oz was 12 years old. Portman also plays the role of Oz’ mother in the film. Oz became a writer, journalist and prominent advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Commenting on Israeli and Jewish current events during promotional interviews for A Tale of Love and Darkness, Portman said that, while she does not want to abuse her platform she is very critical of the recent re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

I’m very much against Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected. I find his racist comments horrific. However, I don’t — what I want to make sure is, I don’t want to use my platform [the wrong way]. I feel like there’s some people who become prominent, and then it’s out in the foreign press. You know, shit on Israel. I do not. I don’t want to do that.”

Moreover, given France’s current social and political climate, she concedes that she is afraid as a Jew in Paris. She added that she is not alone in such a fear, sadly. “But I’d feel nervous being a black man in [the U.S.]. I’d feel nervous being a Muslim in many places.”

In 2011, Natalie Portman was presented with the Oscar for best actress for her performance in Black Swan. Portman admitted to the Hollywood Reporter that she doesn’t know where her Oscar is at the moment, calling the golden statue “a false idol.” Portman resides in Paris with her husband Benjamin Millepied and their 3-year-old son Aleph.

The film A Tale of Love and Darkness will make its international debut at the Cannes Film Festival this month.


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