Amos Guttman, Filmmaker | Chicago Reader

Amos Guttman, Filmmaker

Amos Guttman died of AIDS in 1993 at age 39, and while he's no household name, his works have won a devoted posthumous following in Israel. This 1997 Israeli video documentary pays fulsome tribute to the iconoclastic director, a free spirit and enemy of political correctness who wasn't afraid to irritate Israel's 320,000 gays by depicting them as drug-taking, promiscuous backbiters. Apparently Guttman was the kind of director who wouldn't tell an actor that the main character was gay until he figured it out for himself, who divided actors into those with cheekbones and those without. He also drew heavily from his own life: in the documentary his lover shares his surprise at encountering entire phrases from their conversations in a script, while Guttman's father is shocked to see his resistance to his son's homosexuality portrayed in the film Drifting. Ran Kotzer's portrait reveals that Israel isn't as open-minded about homosexuality as its integrated military might suggest.

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