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THE WINCHELL AFFAIR

Israel, 1979 (MIFF 1980, Programme 66)

Director: Avram Heffner

A journalist, whose marriage is in some disarray, listens to her father reminiscing about a clique that centred around Lord Winchell who was the victim of a political assassination. She sets out to investigate the long-unsolved case. The search for clues into the death takes us back to the 1930s during the British mandate in Palestine. Within this search is another search by the woman into herself and thus the film mixes personal and political mysteries.

"Avram Heffner, regarded by many as the foremost figure in the Israeli cinema (a position hotly disputed by commercial distributors pointing out that his films have never recovered their costs domestically), has finished his third film, The Winchell Affair, the first co-production between the Israeli TV and an independent producer, Yaakov Kozky. As in the past, Heffner uses once again the pretext of a search, this time initiated by a journalist and a photographer, who are looking for the murderer of a high British official, forty years ago, in order to probe into entirely different matters, such as the relations existing between different factions in the Jewish settlement at the time, or the personal problems of the lady journalist and her husband. As the fictional case of Lord Winchell (who never existed) is based on facts taken from a number of actual crimes which did happen, the story line may be quite meaningful here, notwithstanding the fact that most of it comes through in dialogue, with visuals taking a second place. And of course, one has to accept Heffner's cool and restrained style, asking the spectator to force his way into the story rather than pulling him in".

Dan Fainaru, "International Film Guide"

Avram Heffner - Born 1935.

Feature films — But Where is Daniel Vax? (1972), Aunt Clara (1977), The Winchell Affair (1979).

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