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A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015)

1:54 | Trailer
The story of Amos Oz's youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell become the stories we live.


Natalie Portman


Natalie Portman (screenplay by), Amos Oz (based on the book by)
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Every year the Viennale invites a famous director to produce a short film as the festival trailer. In 2013 the choice has fallen on Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat, world-renowned for... See full summary »

Director: Shirin Neshat
Stars: Tarek Aylouch, Michael Markiewicz, Natalie Portman


Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Portman ... Fania
Gilad Kahana ... Arieh
Amir Tessler ... Amos
Moni Moshonov ... Old Amos (voice)
Ohad Knoller ... Israel Zarchi
Makram Khoury ... Al Hilwani (as Makram J. Khoury)
Neta Riskin ... Haya
Alexander Peleg ... Old Amos (as Alex Peleg)
Rotem Keinan ... Tsvi
Tomer Capon ... The Pioneer (as Tomer Kapon)
Yonaton Shiray ... Teenage Amos (as Yonatan Shiray)
Vladimir Friedman ... Mr. Licht
Henry David ... Colonel Jan
Dina Doron ... Grandma Klausner (as Dina Doronne)
Itzchak Peker Itzchak Peker ... Grandpa Klausner (as Itzhak Peker)


Based on the international best-seller by Amos Oz, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS is the story of his youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell, become the stories we live. Written by Studio

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site


Israel | USA



Release Date:

3 September 2015 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Une histoire d'amour et de ténèbres See more »

Filming Locations:

Jerusalem, Israel See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,170, 19 August 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$569,381, 2 October 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Natalie Portman's directorial debut. See more »


Fania Oz: Go to sleep.
Amos Oz: I'm not tired.
Fania Oz: Alright, let's make up a story.
See more »


Opening Music
Performed by Caitlin Sullivan, Kyle Armbrust
Composed by Nicholas Britell
(P) 2015 Voltage Pictures under exclusive license to Milan Entertainment Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

A long string of cinematic poems
20 September 2015 | by NozzSee all my reviews

The movie is beautiful and sometimes quite self-conscious about it, settling into a sequence of many set pieces each of which seems to make a point of its own until remembering them all (to see how they're relevant later on) becomes quite a chore, at least for a bear of little brain like me. There is not much dramatic impetus driving the film along, except that at one point the War of Independence carries the action with its start, middle, and end. What keeps the audience in its seat is more the poetry of the visuals and the thoughtfulness of the text than any great tension or suspense from moment to moment.

A juvenile actor in a major role is always a challenge. In this case, the kid certainly doesn't spoil the movie, but he doesn't make the scenes his own either. His looks don't proclaim him to be the naive and sensitive outsider he's supposed to be; in fact his looks aren't distinctive at all, and a single child actor is used for too many years of plot. (At the start he's behaving too much younger than he looks.)

The narrator explains in retrospect that the Arabs and Jews of Palestine would have got along fine if only they had understood they were all fellow victims of Europe. The proposition is questionable in the light of the current war of civilizations, but coming from writer Amos Oz it is a mercifully mild example of his kooky politics and we're lucky the film contains nothing worse. Natalie Portman was allowed to make Oz' book into a melancholy elegy that resembles a walk through a beautiful but exhaustingly large museum. Item after item. "It was nice," I said to my wife afterward. "It was, but toward the end I was just waiting for it to finish," she replied.

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