“Mr. GAGA” (Film)
On Tuesday 28th November at 19.00 hrs.
At 4th Fl. Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Mr. Gaga tells the story of Ohad Naharin, renowned choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company. An artistic genius who redefined the language of modern dance.
Mr. Gaga was nominated for the European Film awards and received the Audience Awards at SXSW and 10 more international awards
More than 130,000 people have seen Mr. Gaga in Israel since it has been theatrically released, which makes it the documentary film with the largest audience ever in Israel! The film has been sold for theatrical release in more than 16 countries including Japan, Germany, France , Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Canada, USA and more.
Please have a look at the films trailer here
In collaboration with The Embassy of Israel , Bangkok
The Secret History of the Israeli Choreographer Ohad Naharin
By Brian Schaefer Culture Desk of The New Yorker Newspaper , February 1, 2017
Tomer Heymann’s film “Mr. Gaga,“ which is about the work and life of the choreographer Ohad Naharin, is the most successful documentary in Israeli history.
In the early nineties, Tomer Heymann, who had just completed his compulsory service in the Israeli military, became a waiter at Orna and Ella, a hot spot on Tel Aviv’s Sheinkin Street. Every Saturday at 11 a.m., an attractive couple—a Japanese woman, an Israeli man—sat at the same table. She ordered olive-oil cake; he had the wild rice. They tipped generously. Heymann, who is from the small village of Kfar Yedidia, was new to the city. One day, a cousin invited him to a dance performance. “I thought, ‘Did I do something wrong or bad in my life that I need this punishment, to be invited to a dance show?’ ” he recalled recently. But he went to the performance, at the Suzanne Dellal Center, in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood. On the stage, dancers sat on chairs arranged in a semicircle, convulsing to a rock-and-roll version of a traditional Passover song. It was subversive, sexy, strange. “I was not ready for it,” Heymann recalled. He went to see the show again, and then again.
After seeing the performance several times, Heymann, who had just bought a video camera, decided to film it. He sneaked backstage, hovering in the wings. “I was chutzpan_,_” he said, meaning “shameless.” While he was filming one evening, he saw the attractive man from Orna and Ella. “I said, ‘Wow! What are you doing here?’ ” Ohad Naharin, the choreographer of the dances that Heymann had been watching, told him to turn off his camera and never to shoot his dances again.
During the next twenty years, Heymann became known, in Israel and abroad, as the director of documentaries examining the fissures of modern Israeli society. Meanwhile, Naharin, as the director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, became an internationally revered choreographer. The quirky, liquid “movement language” known as “Gaga,” which he invented to deal with a dance injury, is now taught around the world. Heymann has remained a devotee of Naharin’s work, admiring its sly political edge and the way it challenges the cult of Israeli machismo. (Naharin is an outspoken critic of the Israeli government.) But Naharin resisted the idea of having his creative process captured on film. (“It’s like consensually faking an orgasm,” he has said.) In 2007, Heymann showed up, unannounced, in New York, where Naharin was teaching one of his dances to an American dance company. Their conversations that week resulted in a short film, and initiated the long process that would culminate in the feature-length “Mr. Gaga,” which last year became, to everyone’s surprise, the most successful documentary film in Israeli history. Today, “Mr. Gaga” begins a U.S. theatrical run, coinciding with performances by Batsheva at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
In December, I visited Heymann’s editing studio, in a dingy Bauhaus-inspired building overlooking the site of what will one day be a stop on Tel Aviv’s long-awaited metro system. Clicking through frames from the thirteen hundred and seventy-two hours of footage he had gathered over eight years, Heymann, now forty-six, explained that he had always wanted to make an Israeli version of “Fame,” and initially conceived the film as a portrait of aspiring young dancers in Batsheva’s junior company. Later, he turned his focus to the main Batsheva company, but hit a dead end. Naharin was almost forty when he took over Batsheva, in 1990, but, Heymann noticed, the choreographer never spoke about his past. Heymann became obsessed with the question of who Naharin was before Batsheva, and what had shaped him. Naharin, who is reserved about his personal life, wasn’t forthcoming with details.
Three years into filming, with the funds almost spent and his investors impatient, Heymann felt lost. “There were many times I came crying to Barak”—his brother, the co-founder of their production company—“and said, ‘I don’t think I will have a movie.’ ” Then, in 2010, something changed. Naharin, at fifty-seven, became a father for the first time. Heymann paid him a congratulatory visit, during which Naharin finally succumbed and handed over dozens of boxes of home videos that he had never mentioned before. Heymann likes to think that Naharin was changed by the experience of fatherhood—more willing, finally, to share his past. (When I mentioned this to Naharin, he laughed. “Tomer likes to create stories and drama,” he said, insisting that the decision to hand over his archives was “much more trivial. It was about clearing space.”)