Natalie Portman, the Oscar-winning actress with dual citizenship in America and Israel, has been granted NIS 2,550,000, approximately $713,000, to direct, write, and act in a film version of “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” the memoir of Amos Oz.
Portman’s new production company, Handsome Charlie Films, received the funding to direct the film from the Jerusalem Film Fund, founded in 2008 to assist films that are set in Jerusalem.
The book, originally published in Hebrew in 2002, recalls the adolescence of Oz in the 1940’s. As Amazon describes the novel:
It is the story of a boy growing up in the war-torn Jerusalem of the forties and fifties, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. His mother and father, both wonderful people, were ill-suited to each other. When Oz was twelve and a half years old, his mother committed suicide, a tragedy that was to change his life. He leaves the constraints of the family and the community of dreamers, scholars, and failed businessmen, and joins a kibbutz. He changes his name, marries, has children, and finally becomes a writer as well as an active participant in the political life of Israel.
Although A Tale of Love and Darkness will be Portman’s first full feature movie, it isn’t her first time behind the camera: in 2009, Portman wrote and directed a small piece of a movie New York, I Love You.
With the success of of actors-to-directors being so prevalent this year (I.E., Ben Affleck, Argo), it won’t be surprising if Portman’s film does extremely well. Portman was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, so the film should feel very authentic and stay true to Oz’s upbringing.