A man finds himself: it's been years since we've enjoyed a doco like "Vazakhroni the First" on Shlomo Artzi
The three-part documentary series on Israel's greatest living artists is without a doubt the most spectacular attempt to tell the multi-pronged story of my country, in its multitude of shades.
Even if it misses a few important stops along the way, the openness of Artzi and his rejection of the armor makes it possible to put together his puzzle - and all of us
Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 00:01 Updated: 02:07
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Shlomo Artzi (Slomo Artzi, five decades)
Nine months ago, Shlomo Artzi was interviewed by Roni Kuban in here 11. My colleague, Nadav Menuhin, wrote at the time that Artzi "was exposed in the interview as an anxious, lonely, scarred person who 'deadens emotions', as he put it, diminishes himself and denies his success, and that behind his engines hide enormous pains, traumas Childhood and the heavy shadow of kilns from Europe".
He concluded by saying that the same sadness and the same sincerity always existed in Shlomo Artzi's songs, but in that interview - everything just overflowed.
That longing loaded gun fired in bunches.
It turns out that that honesty, which Menuhin described as "breathable air within the powerful and arrogant culture that flourishes in this time and place", was only the first sign of what was to come.
Great living Israeli artists.
Shlomo Artzi, from "And My First Memory" (Photo: Elad Debi)
Last night, the first of three episodes of "And the first memory: Shlomo Artzi - a musical biography" aired, the new docu-series about the great living Israeli artists (every Monday on HOT8), and if I had to sum it up in a few simple words, I'd say it's one of the best musical docu-series I have seen in my life.
As someone who follows the wonderful career of Shlomo Artzi and reads almost every interview with him, this is without a doubt the most spectacular - and the most monumental - attempt to tell the multi-pronged story of Artzi, to capture his multitude of shades and present him in all his glory.
The first chapter (and the best of the three) presents the cultural-sociological-political background from which Shlomo Artzi grew.
The two chapters that follow already review the more well-known periods of Artzi, that is, his successful musical career throughout the last decades.
In one of the moments in the documentary, Artzi talks about the fact that his career, which was extended and never ended, also created quite a few headaches for him.
"How can a 40-year-old man invent himself?", he wondered.
"And a 50-year-old man? And 60? And 70?!", it seems that my country's "problem" is also in a certain sense the problem of the doku - due to the desire to encompass my country's entire career, there were also skipping over stations here and there that it was right to focus on in them a little more and tell their story.
It's hard to squeeze 40 years into an hour-long episode, and maybe it would have been right to consider extending the series to four episodes, if not more.
Take, for example, the too long delay on the joint performance of Shlomo Artzi and Shalom Hanoch and the joint song that Artzi sang with Eric Einstein in the third episode of the docu.
It can be guessed that Shlomo Artzi himself insisted on delving into the series in those collaborations with the two giants, if only to prove to him and the world how much he is part of the same musical elite, of the same establishment that in the past turned up its nose when he heard his music and now accepts him into its fold.
But if you look at Artzi's vast career, those collaborations with Hanoch and Einstein are merely side notes compared to other important moments, and perhaps it would have been right to delve deeper into other, more significant periods.
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A multi-pronged story.
Shlomo Artzi next to producer Yehuda Ader, from "And Remembering the First" (Photo: Elad Debi)
The vast archive that accompanies the three episodes of the series enriches them with surprising and exciting moments (when Shlomo Artzi and his first wife Milcha arrived in bride and groom clothes to receive the "David's Violin" award right after their wedding, and Shlomo even went on stage to sing 'Ahabtia'), funny, captivating (mainly when Ben Artzi talks to Abba Shlomo behind the scenes) and also for unimaginable episodes (Artzi made commercials at a time when he couldn't find himself and before he released "A Man Getting Lost").
Also the many interviewees - headed by the wise and eloquent Shiri Artzi and the wonderful Michael Tapuh - add more brushes with which they paint the doku in a multitude of beautiful colors and give another touch, another story, another moment - to the complex character of Artzi.
The choice of the creators to shine a bright spotlight on the music producers who worked alongside Artzi, while meeting with Artzi himself and talking with him about the birth of his masterpiece albums, is a fascinating and wise choice.
Shlomo Artzi's story is generally known and known, but the wonderful docu-series about him manages to tell it from beginning to end and establish his story - and ours - as the central pillar of Israeli culture.
This is no small thing.
The docu-series also succeeds in clarifying that the story of Shlomo Artzi is not only the story of a man and a talented musician, but also the story of Israeli society and even the story of Israeli music as a whole - from the days of the military bands, through the birth of Israeli pop, the personal turn and the rise of rock to the conquest of Caesarea.
This is no small thing either.
Above all, it seems that this is one of the only times when you can see Shlomo Artzi shaking off the armor that accompanied him for so many years, talking openly even about his less glamorous moments - and slowly weaving the fabric of the "Shlomo" and the "earthly" within "Shlomo Artzi" " that we have all known each other for many years - and manages to put together in front of the viewers' eyes the pieces of the puzzle that built his life and all of our lives.
The three creators - Yaron Shilon, Morris Ben Meur and Amir Ben David - created a fascinating, wonderful and exciting docu.
I haven't enjoyed a documentary this much in years.