This project kicked off with a car journey between Berlin and Hamburg. The Israeli producer, Tommy Hammer, and the Hamburg film auteur and producer, Gabor Altorjay, were driving back from the Berlin Film Festival and had several hours of monotony on the Mecklenburg autobahn to kill. En route they both hit on all the predilections and heroes they had in common, and by the time they got out of the car in Hamburg the story for THE CHANGELING was already mapped out.

The film recounts a night in the life of two men who are connected by nothing more than chance, who quite unexpectedly get very close, but as dawn approaches end up being separated by everything. Lev, the story’s hero, is a White Russian Jew who used to sell CDs on the black market in Minsk. On entering the scene he is the first whose sense of identity is devastated to the core. Luckily he has something to maintain his sanity: music by Jim Morrison and The Doors. Brimming with high expectations, Lev arrives in the Promised Land to start a new life. His personal trial comes in the shape of Ruven. Ruven earns his living as an animal psychiatrist and draws his experience and wisdom from the world of operettas.

It is seldom easy to deal with the advances made by the male sex – especially if you are a man. Over two years the director researched the experiences of heterosexual men who have inadvertently become the object of male lust. To counter the risk of embarrassment, the protagonists’ roles required a performance beyond all acting routine: selfless dedication, sublime confidence and a boundless sense of humour coupled with perfectionism even under the most adverse conditions – right up to take 11 at dawn after 14 hours of a night shoot. The worst time were the days and nights spent in Ruven’s unheated apartment – like so many houses in Israel – at average temperatures of 4°C, colder than in a fridge. And this, after all, was Israel!

With Leon Feldmann and Miguel Ohrbach we found two heroes blessed with magic powers of acting who were capable of taking on this challenge. As the unparalleled performance of both protagonists began to make the story unfurl before the eyes of the film team, everyone soon forgot the intolerable deprivations of independent film-making, first and foremost the film’s unshakeable cameraman Shuki Duinyns.

All this effort would have been in vain had not Tom Dokoupil, the master of sound at the White House Studios in Cologne, not fallen completely in love with the project. With all the patience and sensitivity of a passionate lover he edited the film, turning it into a breathtaking acoustic adventure.

THE CHANGELING was nominated for the Television Drama Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival first screened there in July 2000..

more about The changeling


Transmission starts friday 1600 GMT - ends monday 1100


50 Minutes!

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