Lionel Rogosin

F., M.: Louis Brigante. Int.: Rashed Hussein, Amos Kenan. Prod.: Shunmugam A. Pillay, Lionel Rogosin per Impact Films. DCP. D.: 40’. Bn / Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In 1974 I made Arab Israeli Dialogue, which was a film about a subject that had long been on my mind since I had long standing ties with Israel, going back to the founding of he state in 1948. My father had started a major textile operation there in 1957 on my impetus and I had tried to pull together a low-budget feature for Israel’s tenth anniversary. When I was living there in the early 60s, I became involved with the peace activists associated with the magazine New Outlook and started working on activists associated with the magazine New Outlook and started working on a scenario for a film called The Semites that was to trace Arab-Jewish relations throughout history. I was once again unable to finance the project, but ten years later, an impassioned dinner-table conversation in New York between my two friends, Palestinian poet Rashid Hussein and Israeli journalist Amos Kenan, inspired me to make Arab Israeli Dialogue.
This film, shot in two afternoons and edited in as many weeks, consists of another spontaneous conversation between Hussein and Kenan with some additional footage that I had shot in Israel in 1953. It was a very simple film, very crude, but very honest and very different from what was being made at the time. It was criticized by extremists on both sides, yet many people liked it because it was different. Public television gave it back to me as if it were a bomb.

Lionel Rogosin (excerpt from Autobiography)

With Arab Israeli Dialogue, the Cineteca di Bologna is proud to return to a subject that had been briefly interrupted. Our goal is to reclaim the entirety of Lionel Rogosin’s ouput, in collaboration with his heirs. The films which we have restored in previous years (On the Bowery, Come Back Africa, Good Times, Wonderful Times, Black Roots), and to which we will return to create new digital masters, have amply demonstrated the great value of Rogosin’s cinema and have led to a much-needed international rediscovery of his work.
Rogosin was a director characterised by a profound humanity and driven by an incessant curiosity. His cinema dives into life headfirst, without taking sides, and as a result its form is renewed with each new film. In the coming years we can expect great things: the psychedelically tinged inter-racial love of Black Fantasy (1972), the struggles of the lumberjack cooperatives in Mississippi and Alabama in Woodcutters of the Deep South (1973), and the vertiginously surreal fantasy of Oysters Are in Season and How Do You Like Them Bananas (1966). We believe that each of these titles will leave an indelible mark.

Andrea Meneghelli

Copy From

Restored by Anthology Film Archives, Rogosin Heritage and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata loboratory