The Accursed- Episode Description

“We could, perhaps, have been more cautious and called them ‘The Absolute Poets,’ but apart from the fact that caution isn’t very fashionable in this day and age, this title (‘The Accursed’) has something in it for the reader whom we loathe, for the herd of ‘elitist readers’ – a rude gesture with a finger, if you will – which makes us feel better.”

Paul Verlain, Poètesmaudits, 1884


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Episode One: Pinchas Sadeh

The_Accursed_-_Pinchas_SadehIn the 1960s and 1970s, the book Life as a Parable had a cult following. Poet Meir Wieseltier said that it had the same “revelatory impact as the launching of the Sputnik into space.” Young people followed PinchasSadeh like a prophet, and came knocking on his door in the middle of the night. Hagai, a trouble, self-destructive teen from a religious kibbutz, was one of them. He felt that Sadeh could change his life, and perhaps even save it, so he worked up the courage to meet with him and photographed their encounter on his Super-8 camera. A single knock on the door began a relationship that lasted thirty years, in which Hagai would document Sadeh up until his death. His admiration turned into anger and criticism, though it finally turned into acceptance. Through this relationship he was able to get an intimate look at Sadeh’s total approach to life, at the young women who surrounded him at all times, and atthe young people nearest the author, many of whom ended up killing themselves. We come face to face with all the scandals, but also with Sadeh’s books and poems.


Episode Two: Yona Wallach

The_Accursed_-_Yona_WallachIn the last two years of her life, the poet Yona Wallach suddenly became a public figure. The scandal caused by her poem “Tefillin” had serious cultural and political implications, her poems set to music became radio hits, and the way she dealt with her cancer was covered intimately by the entire media. Hagai met Yona once as an adolescent and was exposed even then to the cruelty and madness so closely associated with her. He returned to her years afterward to document her as she took account of her life and described the love she felt for the young man living with her. Yona speaks the way she wrote and lives, with boundless intensity, intoxicatingly beautiful language, and rare courage.


Episode Three: Moshe Kroy

The_Accursed_-_Moshe_KroySoon after the Yom Kippur War, a short philosophical tract entitled Life According to the Intellect was published in Israel, and Moshe Kroy, a twenty-five-year-old Doctor of Philosophy became a kind of local guru for one turbulent year. The Theory of Rational Egoism that he developed fell on the eager ears of all the people fed up with all the fallen ideologies. Hagai, who was now about to enter the army, becomes a student of Kroy and documents him too. For years he follows the dramatic turnabouts in Kroy’s philosophy but also in his life. He even follows Kroy to Australia to confront him about what seemed at first to be like a return to religion, or was it to madness?The remarkable story of Moshe Kroy is one of the most extreme examples that this country has known. It is the story of a genius who paid every imaginable price in his uncompromising effort to reach the truth.



Episode Four: Aviva Uri

The_Accursed_-_Aviva_UriThe artist Aviva Uri may well have been the most important and influential woman in the history of modern Israeli art. Her relatively late breakthrough in the mid-1970s served to inspire a new generation of artists, who venerated her. It was in these years that Hagai began to document her and her larger-than-life love affair with her elderly husband, the artist Moshe Hendler. Together, they were a tempestuous couple, whose whole life was art. Over the years, however, more and more dark secrets were revealed about Aviva’s life and the price she and those closest to her paid for her total dedication to her art, up until her tragic death.



Episode Five: Epilogue

The_Accursed_-_EpilogueIn the fifth episode of The Accursed, eighteen-year-old Emanuel Levi, a film student and the son of the series’ creator Hagai Levi investigates the unique format of the series and the motivation behind it. With the help of rare archival footage, he attempts to figure out why his father chose now, of all times, to return to these individuals, and what their message is in the present age. He examines where the need for this unconventional style of documentary came from, with its unusual combination of reenactments and the documentarist’s personal biography. More generally, he investigates what about this series is real and what is fiction.


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