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Tarantino gets standing ovation at Jerusalem film fest Cannon Group tribute

CM 26/08/2021


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Master film director Quentin Tarantino, the director of such modern classics as Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds, and his wife, singer/model Daniella Pick, were guests of honor at a tribute to the films of the Cannon Group at the Jerusalem Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Thursday night and Israel’s favorite film geek and was welcomed by an audience filled with his fellow geeks by a standing ovation.
The tribute includes eight films and will last for several days during the festival, which continues until September 4, and the first program kicked off with a panel featuring Tarantino, long known to be a connoisseur of low-budget cinema from the ‘70s and ‘80s, and Israeli director Navot Papushado, whose violent thriller, Big Bad Wolves, which he directed with Aharon Keshales, was championed by Tarantino. They were joined by Hilla Medalia, an acclaimed documentary director/producer, whose film, The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films, told the story of the Cannon Group. The panel also featured a surprise appearance via Zoom by Yoram Globus, the surviving member of the two Israeli cousins who founded the Cannon Group. His partner, Menahem Golan, passed away several years ago.
After producing some of the most popular Israeli films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, such as the Eskimo Limon series and Operation Thunderbolt, the Cannon Group made blockbuster action movies with such stars as Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone.  They jumped at every trend and ran with it, making movies about the Breakdance craze, the occult, martial arts and much more, sometimes selling movies based on a story idea and a poster. While some dismissed them as schlockmeisters presiding over an empire of cheap exploitation movies, others — such as Tarantino — feel their movies are classic crowd-pleasers. Some of these 35-millimeter prints were from Tarantino’s own collection, while others are from the cinematheque’s archive.

Dr. Noa Regev, the CEO of the cinematheque and director of the festival, thanked Pick for helping to put together the tribute.
Globus recalled meeting Tarantino when the director came to Israel in 2009 to promote Inglourious Basterds and thanked the filmmaker for coming. “Quentin raised his hand and stood on his chair and said, ‘I should thank you, not you should thank me’ . . .He knew all the Cannon Group movies by heart.”
Tarantino recalled how much he and his friends at the video store where they worked in Los Angeles in the ‘80s loved the Cannon movies and dreamed of meeting Golan and Globus and making movies for them.
THE JERUSALEM Film Festival returns. (credit: DOR KEDMI)THE JERUSALEM Film Festival returns. (credit: DOR KEDMI)
“The American press used to make fun of them and the trade papers made fun of them even though they were spending a tremendous amount of money in the trade papers, Variety never made as much money as they did with during the days of Cannon and the Hollywood community  used to make fun and not take them seriously, frankly, in an anti-Semitic way and there this, ‘Who the fuck are these Israeli jokers . . . ?’ There really was that attitude about them. . . What me and Roger [Avary, a fellow clerk at the video store who wrote Pulp Fiction with Tarantino] saw was two guys trying to take on the industry and making the movies they wanted to make. . . . We thought the only people who would give us a chance were Menahem and Yoram.”
Tarantino spoke at length about popular Israeli directors he admired who worked for Cannon, including Boaz Davidson and Sam Firstenberg, who made the movie Ninja III: The Domination which Tarantino said was his third-favorite Cannon film.
Globus said his cousin Menahem was undoubtedly looking down and smiling at this tribute.
 Daniella and Quentin Tarantino with Noa Regev, Jerusalem Film Festival (Courtesy of the Jerusalem Cinematheque) (credit: ITAMAR GINZBURG) Daniella and Quentin Tarantino with Noa Regev, Jerusalem Film Festival (Courtesy of the Jerusalem Cinematheque) (credit: ITAMAR GINZBURG)
Following the panel the first films in the tribute were screened, a double bill – unheard of at the movies these days – of Barbet Schroeder’s Barfly, a look at the life of hard-drinking poet Charles Bukowski, starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway, and Andrey Konchalovskiy’s Runaway Train with Jon Voight and Eric Roberts, which Tarantino said was his favorite Cannon movie.
Other films to be shown include The Delta Force with Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin; Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, 10 to Midnight and Death Wish 4: The Crackdown starring Charles Bronson; The Naked Cage, a women’s prison story; The Ambassador, the story of an American ambassador to Israeli starring Robert Mitchum and Rock Hudson in his final feature-film appearance.
A small army of Israel’s most intense film students swarmed the screening and others who had not been able to scare tickets hung around, hoping there might be empty seats. The average age of the crowd was about 25. But here’s what you need to know about Tarantino to understand who he really is and how much he is driven by his passion for movies: When the panel ended, he stayed to watch these movies, which he has seen countless times before. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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