Director: Amos Gitai
Co-stars: Hanna Lazlo, Haim Abbas, Aki Avni, Liron Levo
& Carmen Maura.
Israel Release Date: June 9, 2005.
US Release Date: December 16, 2005.
Filming: in 18 days until February 24th of 2005 on
location in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel.
Natalie's Character: Rebecca.
Plot Summary: The unlikely relationship between two
completely different women thrown together by
circumstance. Rebecca (Portman) runs away from her
luxury hotel after a quarrel with her mother-in-law
(Carmen Maura) and dives into a taxi driven by Hanna (Hanna
Lazlo). The two women embark on a journey that is not
entirely kosher and involves thugs and political
- "Free Zone" was selected in competition at the 2005
Cannes film Festival and Hanna Lazlo won the Best
- The opening scene is a 10-minute close-up shot of
Natalie's face crying in a car by the Wailing Wall.
- A kissing scene with co-actor Aki Avni in a car park
next to the Wailing Wall infuriated ultra-Orthodox Jews
praying at the site, who slammed the smooch as an act of
"lewdness" before chasing the pair and the crew off the
set.The paper Yediot Aharonot said Amos Gitai had not
asked for permission prior to shooting the scene, but
reached a compromise after the incident that he and his
crew could come back to the site at a later hour. The
scene was, in the end, edited out of the final cut.
- Gitaļ included to his story some bits of Natalie's
- She met Liron Levo during the filming. He appears in
one scene as a security guard.
- Natalie has been busy steeping herself in her native
country's history and culture, not only as research but
also to explore her own heritage: she has been studying
at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has finished a
novel by David Grossman and is working her way through
Yitzhak Rabin's memoirs. While everything in Israel is
political, she says, the film is not explicitly so. She
speaks passionately about the conflict, but for her,
"living in Israel is really beautiful. One of the most
shocking things is how peaceful it feels".(The Guardian
Unlimited, January 2005)
- It's the first time an Israeli movie is shot in Jordan
with the support of the Royal Commission of cinema.