News | 7 February 2013

Israeli filmmaker to screen acclaimed documentary about famed architect


Award-winning documentarian Duki Dror in-residence at UCSC this winter as visiting artist

Incessant VisionsUCSC’s Film and Digital Media Department will present a free public screening of award-winning Israeli documentarian Duki Dror’s acclaimed filmMendelsohn’s Incessant Visions on February 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Media Theater.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Dror, who is spending this winter quarter in residence at UCSC as a visiting artist.

Dror’s most recent work, Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions (2011), illuminates the life of German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn, one of the most prominent modern architects of the past century.

The story is based on more than 12,000 letters he exchanged with his wife Louise over the course of their lives.

Duki Dror

Duki Dror

During World War I, Mendelsohn drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them from the trenches to a young cellist who was waiting for him in Berlin.

She thought he was a genius and after the war ended, they married and she helped him to become the busiest architect in Germany.

When the Nazis came to power, Mendelsohn was expelled from the Academy of Arts and their house was confiscated, along with all of their possessions.

The couple left Germany forever and wandered between continents, with Mendelsohn leaving a trail of visionary buildings around the world.

He worked in England, Israel, and eventually the San Francisco Bay Area, where he taught at UC Berkeley.

dror-poster-300Among his many achievements, Mendelsohn designed the Einstein Tower observatory, Schocken department stores, and the first modern cinema–Universum Cinema–in Germany; the Mt. Scopus Campus of Hadassah Hospital; and the Weitzman House in Israel.

Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions had its world premiere at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2011 and since then has been screened at countless film festivals worldwide.

Born in Tel Aviv, and educated at UCLA and Columbia College in Chicago, Dror is one of the most prolific documentary filmmakers in Israel. His films have been described as “parables of identity in the 21st century’s merging world…telling powerful stories triggered by cultural, political and ethnic dilemmas.”

Dror’s previous films include: My Fantasia (2000), the story of his father who was a political prisoner in Iraq; Raging Dove (2002), the story of Arab-Israeli world boxing champion Johar Abu-Lashin, which premiered at the SXSW festival, and aired on The Sundance Channel; Mr. Cortisone Happy Days (2004), a jarring documentary about dying of cancer; The Journey of Vaan Nguyen(2005), a feature documentary about the Vietnamese “boat people,” that premiered at the Asian-American Film Festival in San Francisco; and Across The River (2009), which premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

As resident artist at UCSC this quarter, Dror is currently teaching the course “Film 801, A Comparative Study of Israeli Documentaries.”

UCSC’s screening of Duki Dror’s film Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions takes place on February 25, at 7:30 p.m., on campus in the Media Theater. Admission is free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by the UCSC Center for Jewish Studies, the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival, and the Arts Dean’s Arts Excellence Fund. For more information, call (831) 459-3204. WATCH TRAILER
Article written by Scott Rappaport.