Coming soon: Hollywood movie on Eichmann capture

Filming completed about capture: 'We rented out a whole airport, we didn't take anything from the real location.'

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Shimon Cohen & Mordechai Sones,

Eichmann on trial
Eichmann on trial
Reuters

The operation to kidnap Adolf Eichmann and bring him to Israel has been described in books, theater, and film. Now a Hollywood movie is being produced about it.

Arutz Sheva spoke with former Mossad agent Avner Avraham, as he returned from the filming location in Argentina where he served as a credibility advisor for the film. He is a producer of international exhibitions on security to teach about the affair.

"About six months ago, I read an article saying that Hollywood is producing a movie called Operation Finale, and through the journalist who published the article I contacted Fred Berger, director of La La Land. From there it was a small step to invite Chris Weiss, the movie's director, to Chicago to see my exhibition.

"He came specially, saw the exhibition, and decided he wanted to work with me. After a little while they integrated me into the team and in July I started working with them as a consultant on the film, spending about two of the past three months on the set in Argentina

"Filming has been completed It was filmed in Buenos Aires and its suburbs and in Bariloche, which is the Swiss region of A.rgentina thousands of kilometers from the capital," Avraham says, noting that this is a place "very similar to the real area, but we took nothing from the real area because Eichmann's house on Garibaldi street no longer exists. They destroyed it and today it's a poor neighborhood that it is dangerous to enter. There's an empty lot there with a fence preventing entry into the area."

In this context, Avraham adds: "The former house of Eichmann, where he lived when his son went out with a Jewish woman, was in Hollowius on Chakabuku Street. I visited there. They didn't open the door or let me in but I was there."

Avraham was asked how he reconciled being a man of archives and exhibitions who wants to be accurate and authentic, with being a Hollywood film producer who wants to add heroism and flair to the story. "It's not a documentary film but a Hollywood film," he says at the beginning of his answer, "but between the screenplay and the mode of photography, there's space for me to enter. It begins with simple things about Judaism and the Land of Israel. For example, when the protagonist of the film Zvi Malkin, played by Oscar Isaac, arrives for his mother's Sabbath dinner."

"The whole apartment was built like an apartment in Haifa in the fifties down to the smallest details, but the planning of the meal, the food, the candlesticks, challah, the kippah on the head of the main player, the need to teach him to bless in Hebrew. All this was the job of the Jew who was there, and that's me."

About the skullcap placed on the main actor's head, Avraham says that production wanted to pin it on, but he noted that precisely in this situation there is no room for a pin, since this isn't a religious person's skullcap, but rather the skullcap of a person who wears it as part of his respect for religion and tradition.

Another example he tells regards the mezuzah at the door. At the time of filming there were about 200 participants in each scene, so he himself told the producers that he'd wait in a nearby cafe and if he was needed for any questions and inquiries, he could be approached there. Indeed, soon a production man came to him with a mezuzah in his hand, asking how and where exactly to hang it. In order to clarify the laws of mezuzahs, Avraham turned to Google and researched the precise details regarding mezuzah placement.

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The film also features a major Israeli actor, Lior Raz, who is remembered from Fauda, who plays the character of Isser Harel, head of the Mossad. Actor Ben Kingsley plays Eichmann, and Melanie Lawrence from France was cast as a doctor replacing the doctor in the historical event, "in order to create tension between men and women" in the words of Abraham mentioning various actors, some more and some less famous, who share the set, such as an actor playing Ben-Gurion and another actor, Peter Strauss, who plays "the blind Jew who discovers that his daughter is going out with Eichmann's son and from here the whole story begins."

Avraham himself has a cameo appearance in the film. "I briefly appeared in a scene filmed in a cafe that was supposed to be in Jaffa. I asked to be an extra in the scene. They told me to grab a table, and a few minutes before the scene, I said that maybe I would sit with the main actor in the restaurant," and thus it was decided. Abraham's role as an extra took on another dimension.

In Avraham's estimation, another film of this scope will not be made about this case. "We rented an entire airport to design it as an airport from the 1960s, when we had to build a plane we built a plane, and if we need a cavalry parade with horses or to build Eichmann's house we did those one by one. It's a very big and professional undertaking."

Filming was completed last Wednesday and the movie will be released in October 2018 after editing.



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