section Feature Film Competition

Daniel Auerbach

  • David Volach
  • IL
  • 2023
  • 105

Pubescent Daniel is subject to an orthodox upbringing and struggles with the big questions of faith and life. Three decades later he has renounced the faith and yet his struggles remain unresolved. Is Daniel the director’s alter ego, played by himself, and the film his own “making of”?

It doesn't look like Daniel's second, long-awaited film will ever be finished. Instead of finally presenting a workable script he wanders, chain-smoking, from one bar to the next, where he proceeds to get on the locals’ nerves with his philosophical ruminating until he is shown the door. Even for his run-down apartment there is no longer enough money.

Daniel doesn't have any time for practical things, however. He constantly entangles himself in never-ending monologues about his "auto-anti-Semitism" and his fight against "hyper-Judaism" which, in Daniel's eyes, is to be considered deeply racist due to the self-perception as a chosen people that informs it. Flashbacks suggest that (self-)doubt runs like a common thread through his entire life and - coupled with unhappy relationships - have made a lonely man of him.

Experimentally, the film toys with autobiographical and fictional elements and, in jumping between three planes of time, creates the psychogram of a failed individual, one who oscillates between astute observations and a creeping self-destruction. Maybe it's only this very film that can save him.

Text: Rainer Mende
English: Peter Rickerby

On Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21, a Q&A with director David Volach will take place after the screening.

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original title Daniel Auerbach

international title Daniel Auerbach

german title Daniel Auerbach

JFBB section Feature Film Competition

  • director David Volach

country/countries IL

year 2023

duration 105

David Volach

BIO David Volach was born in 1970 in Israel. He was brought up, together with his 19 siblings, in an ultra-orthodox family. The family lived in the Haredic community in Jerusalem, one of the most orthodox Jewish communities in the country. In his late teens, he studied in the Ponevezh yeshiva. During that time, he began his long process of secularization. At the age of 25, he left the religious community, became secular, and moved to Tel-Aviv. Volach’s first feature as a director was ’My Father, My Lord’, a poetic story of an ultra-Orthodox family on vacation. This intimate drama provides an intense character study of a rabbi in an Orthodox neighbourhood, whose letter-of-the-law application of Talmudic tenets takes an exacting toll on his life. He must thus grapple with the conflicting demands of his belief system and his familial obligations to his wife and child. In 2007 the film won the Narrative Feature Film Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Best Director Award at the Taormina Film Festival. Volach was awarded Best Israeli Feature, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Edit at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2023 - for his lates film ‘Daniel Auerbach’. The feature had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2024.