Natalie Portman may start wearing and selling another perfume. She’s standing up for Israel and Judaism as a proud Jewish woman who debuted as Anne Frank on Broadway in 1997. Oscar-winning Portman has cut her ties to Dior’s now-fired chief designer John Galliano after his anti-Semitic rant (he’ll have to stand trial).
Portman was unveiled as the fragrance Miss Dior Cherie’s poster girl in January (commercials, shot by Sofia Coppola, are now airing on national TV) and openly said backstage at the Oscars that she is “deeply shocked and disgusted by the video,” in light of which, “and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”
No pushover, Portman knows when to speak out. A vegan (Academy Governor’s Ball chef Wolfgang Puck made special food just for her; see our video below) and environmentalist, she stands by her beliefs. In her Oscar acceptance speech she said, “I want to thank my parents, who are right there, first and foremost for giving me my life and for giving me the opportunity to work from such an early age and showing me everyday how to be a good human being by example.” Well done, Portmans.
Portman’s 2005 Israeli film Free Zone is screening at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre on March 16 as part of an Amos Gitai double feature and discussion (the other is Disengagement with Juliette Binoche). Synopses of the films are below and more information on the screenings is here.
Free Zone / Disengagement
Presented with French Film and TV Office, Los Angeles, French Embassy and Insitut Français
Based in Israel, the United States and France, filmmaker Amos Gitai has produced an extraordinary, wide-ranging, and deeply personal body of work. In a repertoire of around 40 films which includes such notable titles as KIPPUR, KADOSH, FREE ZONE (starring Natalie Portman) and DISENGAGEMENT (starring Juliette Binoche), Gitai has explored the layers of history in the Middle East and beyond, including his own personal history, through such themes as homeland and exile, religion, social control and utopia.
Discussion between films with director Amos Gitai.
2005, New Yorker Film, 90 min, Dir: Amos Gitai
Rebecca (Natalie Portman) is an American living in Jerusalem, and has just made a clean break from her fiancé. She steps into a cab, driven by Israeli Hanna (Hanna Laslo), but instead of being driven to her expected destination, Rebecca is taken by the determined cabbie to the Free Zone in Jordan, where Hanna has been instructed to pick up a large sum of money. Laslo was awarded Best Actress for her terrific performance and the film was nominated for the Golden Palm at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. In English, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish.
2007, IFC Films, 115 min, Dir: Amos Gitai
When Ana (Juliette Binoche) is reunited with her Israeli step-brother Uli (Liron Levo) in France for their father’s funeral, the two decide to travel to Israel and find the daughter Ana gave up 20 years prior. Crossing frontiers by car, train and boat, Ana and Uli are caught up in the turmoil and emotion of the military-enforced disengagement of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005. With French New Wave legend Jeanne Moreau.