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Mossad! (film)

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Mossad is an action and comedy film, written and director by Alon Gur-Arye. It is a remake to Gur-Arye's short 2007 film "Israeli Intelligence". This a parody, one that is making fun of the Israeli and international spying and defense world, especially the CIA and the Mossad. The film focuses on the story of an Israeli Mossad agent, competing with a CIA agent, in an attempt to save the world from a terror organization as an American billionaire is kidnapped in Jerusalem.

The film stars an ensemble of actors such as Tzachi Halevy, Adi Himelbloy, Efrat Dor, Shlomi Koriat, Tal Friedman, Dvir Benedek, Ilan Dar, Omer Dror, Ido Musseri, Gila Almagor, Ilan Dar, Tomer Sharon, Meital Dohan, Shiran Sandel, and more.

The film was first released on June 27th, 2019, and is rated as the most profitable Israeli film for 2019, so far.


Synopsis[edit | edit source]

An Israeli Mossad agent competes with an American CIA agent over who will save the world from its destruction by a terrorist organization. As an American millionaire was kidnapped in Jerusalem, the CIA decides not to trust Israel and send its own agent. The relationship between them resembles the Israel-United States relationship; the CIA agent comes with a budget and works by the book, whereas the Mossad agent is looking for shortcuts and takes all the credit. If they fail to complete the mission, the Mossad director will not participate in Israel's formal independence celebrations, a thing that mustn't happen.

Characters and actors[edit | edit source]

Character Actor/Actress Name Description of Character
Guy Moran Tzachi Halevi The Israeli version of James Bond, only on low-budget
Linda Harris Efrat Dor A praised CIA agent, specializing in the Middle East
Ahron Rachamim Tal Friedman A veteran Mossad agent, part of Shuki's team / Ahron-Man – a combination of machine and an Ashkenazi
Sharon Suttelberg Adi Himelbloy Jack Suttelberg's who-remembers-what-number wife and a few other things
Shuki Dvir Benedek The legendary commander of Shuki's Team, a man with many heroic tales, some are even true
Charlie Marcoc Shlomi Koriat A freedom fighter in the international terrorist organization RBG
Ethan from the Israeli intelligence Omer Dror An intelligence agent without any knowledge in intelligence, but he looks great in uniform
Chaim Ilan Dar Director of the Mossad, life behind the desk has made him sloppy
Chiko Tomer Sharon The Israeli and less confident version of James Bond's legendary Q
Finch Tal Tirengal Similar to Charlie, only stupid, wearing an executioner's hat but he forgot to make holes for his eyes
Rivka Gila Almagor Wife of Chaim, the Mossad director, who decided to make her husband pick between his work and her
Jack Suttelberg Nitzan Zitzer An American cellphone manufacturer, and a great philanthropist to Israel, which makes him a welcomed guest 
Tamil Ido Musseri Wanted by the Mossad, leader of a terrorist organization in Tunisia
Keren Rachamim Shiran Sandel Wife of Ahron, temporarily becomes his widow
Avigail Shiran Sandler Dates Guy Moran, buy dumps him when he starts killing people
Arnold Ahron Kaplan Director of CIA, competes with Director of Mossad for glory and fame

Cultural References[edit | edit source]

  • The Mossad headquarters is located (according to the movie) in front of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, underneath the roses garden, when the entrance is behind the bronze Menorah.
  • Agent Ahron turns to "Ahron-Man", a combination of Robocop and Ironman.
  • Famous Israeli entertainment personal act as themselves; the singer Itay Levy, Liran grey shirt, Tal Museri, Dan Kanner, Yuval Hmevulbal, Sugar Zaza, and more.
  • When terrorists take over the Mossad's ceremony, the orchestra quits its Mozart tunes, and turn to quick tunes, references to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho".
  • As the Jerusalem Chords Bridge collapses, the chords break out according to the rhythm of "London Bridge is Falling Down".
  • The computer "Sigi" is a combination of Ciri and scenes in the style of "Space Odyssey" and "Minority Report". Cigi's voice is narrated by Lucy Aharish. When Sigi turns to the man profile, its voice is narrated by Alon Gur-Arye.
  • Tal Friedman tells Gila Almagor and Ilan Dar with a French accent: "Mademoiselle, the Mossad is proud to present: your dinner" – a reference to the restaurant scene in "the Beauty and the Beast".
  • The theme song includes silhouettes of dancing girls, firing weapons, water bubbles, and a golden palm giving the middle finger – all motives of the opening themes for the James Bond films.
  • As Guy and Linda land in Sujayra, they are accompanied by the Tin Man, from the book and the movie "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".
  • David Zucker appears and behind him, the L.A. Hollywood sign shows, as he looks into his cellphone.
  • The creator and director of the film, Alon Gur-Arye, appears as one of the passengers on the light-rail when it's losing control.
  • Amongst the logos that appear in the beginning of the film, appears a frame of "The Foundation for Quiet while Showing Logos in the Beginning of Film", before the logo of "Keshet" it shows "three more commercials and we're done", and later on "The Foundation for fade in and fade out" that shows with a fade in and ends with a fade-out.

Special Effects[edit | edit source]

The film is abundant with special effects compared to the norm in Israeli cinema. One of the scenes includes the collapsing of the Chords Bridge over Tal Friedman.

Fights were mainly done by the actors, who were guided by the master stage fighting Ori Bustan.

The suit design of the superhero "Ahron-Man" was planned and done by Moon Studio. It had a remote light system and computerized animation.

Soundtrack[edit | edit source]

The soundtrack was recorded in Israel and New York by Sharon Levy and Erez Aviram, and it includes a live orchestra.

The theme song of the film "Somebody hug me" was performed by Sarit Chadad. It was written by Hadas Cohen, Henry and Moran David, who also wrote the melody. The song was arranged by Nir Maimon. The singer also stars in the video clip that the song has, and it shows part of the film.

The song was declared a success and got into the playlist of the radio station "Galgalatz" in August 2019.

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

In 2007 the short film "Israeli Intelligence" took part in the International Film Festival in Jerusalem, Alon Gur-Arye's student film. Although it was low-budget, "Israeli Intelligence" has been showing every month in the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Saturdays before midnight. In addition, the film received massive media coverage, enthusiastic reviews and a loyal audience that attends its shows across Israel. The film took part in film festivals and won six international awards, including best director award, best comedy, best special effects, and the people's choice award. In 2008 the film was shown on channel 2 and can be found on HOT VOD video service.

Having been established as a cult film, spontaneous events surrounding its showings began occurring: the audience is received by characters taken from the sketches of "Hippopotamus" who activate the viewers, give away drinks, and perform funny competitions. The audience picks "Hippopotamus" sketches to be shown before the film, on stage the “Hippopotamus" staff checks who saw the film the greatest number of times and holds a sing-along with a xylophone. On the other Cinematheques in the country "Hippopotamus" sketches are shown alongside the film, and sometimes, Gur-Arye, the director who became a lecturer of comedy and cinema, arrives for a conversation with the audience and talk about his art.

Pre-production and casting[edit | edit source]

In 2014, Daroma Productions, United King Films, The Cinema and Television Initiative in Jerusalem, and the Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts – gradually joined the project.

In 2017 the Israeli director and screenwriter, Avi Nesher, joined the project as the screenwriter editor. In light of the long time that had passed in which Gur-Arye attempted in raising a budget for the project, completely new characters and storylines were written, ones that will fit a form of a full feature and that will be relevant to the times in which the film was dated to be released.

David Zucker, the creator, director, and screenwriter of the genre films “Airplane!”, “Top Secret!”, and “the Naked Gun”, met Alon Gur-Arye when he visited Israel. The two held a series of masterclasses in cinemas, during which Zucker became aware of the short film. Later Zucker was present at the L.A. show of Gur-Arye’s first feature “Operation Egg”, as part of the Israeli Film Festival. Then he announced his consent to join the project. Zucker returned to Israel on January 2018 in order to cooperate with Gur-Arye, as he accompanies the production, directing, and writing of the new script. In addition, he was present at the rehearsals and the shootings which were done in English and Hebrew and came back again in June 2019 for the film’s opening as part of Israel’s South Film Festival.

The shootings for the film "Mossad", started on January 15th, 2018 starring: Tzachi Halevy, Tal Friedman, Efrat Dor, Dvir Benedek, Adi Himelbloy, Shlomi Koriat, Ilan Dar, Gila Almagor, Omer Dror, Tal Tirengal, Tomer Sharon, Ido Musseri, Meital Dohan, Shiran Sandel, and others.

Shootings[edit | edit source]

The shootings of the film tool 30 days, and half of them took place in Jerusalem: the Mossad headquarters was established in the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, and the outdoors shooting took place in the Mount Zion Hotel, the Knesset Menorah, the Roses Garden, the Chords Bridge, the streets of Jerusalem, and the light rail.

The Torch Lighting Ceremony combined real footage of the general rehearsal for the real ceremony of 2016, the raw material was shot before the movie itself was produced. Tunisia and the flight were shot at the Bonim beach.

Sujaira was shot in Ein Chemed National Park, and the indoor shootings were done at the Carmel Mizrachi Winery in Rishon Letzion. Guy's apartment and Suttelberg's swite were shot at the Herods Hotel.

Distribution[edit | edit source]

Distribution in Israel[edit | edit source]

The film was released on June 27th, 2019.

The Facebook, Instagram, and Twiter pages of "Mossad" were active prior to the release of the film and reacted to news events such as the 2019 Eurovision contest, and the 21st Knesset elections, and also published a film poster in Farsi for Iran.

As of October 2019, the film was not distributed outside of Israel.

Surprise show on “The White Night”[edit | edit source]

On May 16th, 2019, as part of the White Night events in Tel Aviv, fans of the “Israeli Intelligence” film were invited for one last show of the film in the Cinematheque. During the show, the projector had an error, and the film was stopped. Gur-Arye, together with Ilan Dar and Adi Himelbloy, went onstage to apologize and explained that they have the ability to reshow the film, as Ilan is the Mossad Director. That was a surprise show in its work-in-progress version, as the post-production was completed two weeks later.

Director’s cut[edit | edit source]

An extended version named “Mossad – Director’s Cut” was shown for the first time on September 25th, 2019, as part of the Israeli Cinema Day, on a restricted distribution in the Cinema City theatre in Rishon Letzion and the Glilot theatre. The rest of the country continued to show the regular version. On a specially designed poster the words “including jokes that were not included in the original version – and rightfully so”. All together 8 scenes or additions to existing scenes and a preference in which the director eliminates the editor in order to create the director’s cut version without him. Alon Gur-Arye and Tal Tirengal arrived to film showing in Rishon Letzion and surprised the audience.

This version was shown on October 17th, as part of the Icon Festival, with a preference by Gur-Arye and Rotem Raviv, who was an assistant director on the production, with a special emphasis on donations given by the fans and volunteers for the success of the project.

Festivals and Awards  [edit | edit source]

On June 2nd the film was officially shown as the opening film as part of the South Film Festival 2019 and was simultaneously shown in two theaters. Together with the film’s cast, Gur-Arye and David Zucker were also present and held a master class about creating a comedy before the show.

The international premiere of the film will take place as part of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in the presence of the production team and the cast. The event is planned for the end of November.

Reception[edit | edit source]


Reviews[edit | edit source]

Most of the film’s reviews were positive and was rated third, as it was released, on the review board of the newspaper “Haaretz”.

Shmulik Duvdevani, the film critic of Ynet wrote: "Mossad", the new film by the director Alon Gur-Arye, doesn't ask to do anything else but make you laugh. Luckily for the audience, it does that with great success, lots of love, passion, and quite a few ingenious bits. Gur-Arye really loves the comedies to which he refers to, and "Mossad" is a film with plenty of creative enthusiasm that carries you along with it.”

Yair Raveh wrote: “Mossad" is not only one of the funniest movies you'll see this year, but is also a much-needed breeze to the Israeli cinema industry, and the first movie this year that has the potential to become a blockbuster. On the outside, it looks like a shiny commercial product, but lift the lid, and you'll find the blood, sweat, tears, and guts of the man who created it.”

Ishai Kitchles, the film critic of the newspaper “Israel Today” wrote: “Gur-Arye shows high knowledge and professionalism in this genre, and even contributed some refreshing innovations… the actors give in to the silliness in complete seriousness and with all the necessary pathos; and the active script, the tight and to the point, is filled with the clichés and scenes that you'd expect to find in a spy-action parody.”

Or Sigoli, the film critic of the newspaper “Globes” wrote: “It's really not easy to find any other film, Israeli or foreign, that its entire purpose is to hurt our cheeks laughing. This makes "Mossad" a film to which you enjoy giving compliments, and Alon Gur-Arye to a new pioneer in Israeli comedy, one for whom we've been waiting for a long time.”

Viewers[edit | edit source]

On its first weekend out, the film was watched by 30,000 people. The film crossed the 200,000 viewers' bar after a month and three weeks.

Shows for Foreign Diplomates[edit | edit source]

“Mossad” was chosen as the first film to open the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Government Press Office’s project to show selected Israeli films to foreign reporters, the foreign news staffs who live in Israel and write about it. The creator Alon Gur-Arye and the lead actor Tzachi Halevi answered the questions of the reporters, at the end of the show that took place in Jerusalem on September 19th, 2019, in the Cinema City theatre. This was the first time that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds a show of an Israeli film.

Virtual Reality Game[edit | edit source]

A game of virtual reality named “The Experience of Ahron-Man” was developed for the film, in which the player takes the role of Tal Friedman and has conversations with Tzachi Halevi.

The game was launched with the film’s release in the theaters of Cinema City in Jerusalem, Glilot, and Rishon Letzion. In each Cinema City center, four stations of the game were established, 16 in total across the country.

References[edit | edit source]

הגהה, הרחבה[edit | edit source]

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