Filmmaker Gidi Dar looks to take you on a harrowing tale with Legend of Destruction, and now the film has gained a star-studded cast.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that Oscar Isaac, Evangeline Lilly, Elliott Gould, and Billy Zane have joined the voice cast of the animated film and its new English-language version.
Dar worked on the project for nine years and incorporated a unique visual style with 1,500 original still paintings by David Polonsky and Michael Faust (Waltz with Bashir and The Congress). “Movement in cinema is an illusion,” says Dar, “there are 24 still frames per second. In Legend of Destruction, we tried to push the limits of this illusion a few steps ahead.”
The film is “set in 66 AD, Judea, under Roman rule; a virtual powder keg waiting to explode. Its society is polarized, and there is rampant social injustice and corruption. When the Jews revolt against the Roman Empire, the situation quickly deteriorates into a brutal civil war, and the Roman war beast is unleashed to crush the rebellion. The film ends in 70 AD with the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the 2000-year exile of the Jewish People – a key moment in both Judaism and Christianity.”
“This story is at the core of Jewish existence, it is one of the darkest moments of my people, yet few know it. I felt compelled to tell it”, adds Dar.
Legend of Destruction is told from the perspective of Ben Batich (Isaac), a good-hearted naïve young man who becomes a hardened zealot, a follower of the charismatic Robin Hood-like rebel leader Bar Giora (Zane). “It is a story that has great historical sweep, but also is very intimate; it is about a personal relation between the lead character and God,” says Isaac.
“This film is sweeping, it’s tragic, it’s really brutal and sad, but it’s true,” says Evangeline Lilly. Lilly voices Queen Berenice, the cunning last Jewish queen, who was trying to save the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at all costs.
Isaac also added that the film is “terrifyingly relevant.”
Legend of Destruction was released on 15th July 2021 in Israeli cinemas. It received seven nominations for the Ophir Awards.