Librarian, Dror Izhar (no relation to writer, politician, and cultural icon S.Yizhar) has an encyclopedic mind finely honed by years of film viewing and studies in history, culture, film-making, literature, Greek philosophy, and art (B.A., Tel Aviv University). "My M.A. (Bar Ilan University) and Ph.D. (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) are more concrete," Izhar explains. "The M.A. is on African-Americans in Hollywood film and TV during the Cold War, and the Ph.D. is on the [East] Indian Patriot's image in British film and TV during the Cold War."
Izhar's passion for the medium fuels his scholarship:
I was always passionate about films. … Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye, Jean Gabin, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alan Delon, Toto, Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Lino Ventura, Richard Roundtree, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, and countless fantastic performers from Japan, China, Russia, Israel (Shai K. Ophir and Gila Almagor), French and Italian comedies, espionage and thrillers, crime movies.How did Izhar discover film, and why did he decide to study it?
I was not popular and not a successful student. So I went to the movies with girls, without girls, with boys my age, and alone, in front of the TV. Physically I sensed elation. Only in sex did I get that elation, so you could say that sex and movies motivate me.Buster Keaton and Vittorio De Sica triggered my interest in pursuing the medium.
At Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion universities, I met two remarkable people: Professor Shlomo Sand and Professor Frank Stern. They knew more than I about European cinema while I knew more about the rest of film, so we were even.
And while Izhar insists, “I'm really not into lists: The idea smells of inventory and grocery lists,” he admits to —
... being into everything exciting, revealing, documenting societies, neo-realism, some new wave and some Hollywood genres, British films of a certain period (forties, late fifties, sixties-to-eighties, and nineties), and new Hollywood. Japanese films, Chinese, Indian, and Latino-American movies, some Iranian, an odd Turkish movie here, an Australian movie there, a Hollywood musical.
So, when I ask for guidance, he considers my interests carefully, thinks out loud while scanning his vast mental database, and scrawls in my notebook a list of must-see films. These lists are my curriculum that during the past three years has included —
- 5 Days /chamisha yamim
- Appelfeld’s Table / Ha-shulchan shel Aharon
- Arna's Children / Hayeladim shel Arna
- Altermania (Natan Alterman)
- Avot Yeshurun [directed by Amir Harel, who produced Paradise Now / Gan Eden Achshav]
- Guide for the Perplexed / Moreh nevukheem
- Harmed Forces / Kohotenu lo shavu
- Hirbet Hiza
- Hot House / Bayit ham
- Mahmoud Darwish: The Land is the Language
- Number 17 Anonymous / Haharug ha-17
- Odessa... Odessa!
- Paper Dolls / Bubot Niyar
- Preliminaries / Mikdamot
- Souvenirs / Souveneerim
- Tali Fahima — Crossing the Lines / Chotza et hakaveem
- The Cemetery Club / Mo'adon beit ha'kvarot
- The Golden Cage / Kluv shel zahav
- The Journey of Vaan Nguyen / Hamasah shel Vann
Update | June 2009 Dror became Dr. Dror Izhar on earning a PhD in history from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He is developing into a book, his dissertation, "The Indian Patriot Image in British Commercial Film and TV (1956-1986." To listen to Dr. Dror discuss his work, with illustrations, watch the video, Love-Hate: Brits and E. Indian Patriots (8:17 minutes).