It Is No Dream

It Is No Dream

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It Is No Dream (2012)

Also Known As: It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl

Opened: 08/10/2012 Limited

Quad Cinema/NYC08/10/2012 - 08/23/201214 days
Music Hall 308/17/2012 - 09/06/201221 days
Town Center 508/17/2012 - 08/30/201214 days
Beverly Hills,...08/17/2012 - 08/23/20127 days
Irvine, CA08/17/2012 - 08/23/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Genre: Biographical Documentary

Rated: Unrated


It Is No Dream is a feature documentary that examines the life and times of Theodor Herzl, the journalist and playwright who was responsible for creating the political movement that led in 1948 to the creation of the Jewish state, Israel. It is the latest production of Moriah Films, the two-time Academy Award winning documentary film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international human rights organization and NGO with over 400,000 member families.

Narrated by Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley and starring Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz as the voice of Theodor Herzl, It Is No Dream examines how Theodor Herzl, an assimilated Jew, born into a traditional but mostly non-religious family in Budapest in 1860, was changed by the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, which he covered as a journalist in 1895. Previously, he had advocated the mass conversion of Jews to Christianity as a solution to the growing anti-Semitism of Europe. However, after witnessing the court proceedings where Dreyfus was falsely convicted of treason and the anti-Jewish demonstrations of the French public, Herzl became convinced that the only answer to the anti-Semitism that was spreading across Europe was the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, the Biblical homeland of the Jewish people. He wrote a political treatise entitled "Der Judenstaat" or "The Jewish State" that became an international bestseller, laying out his ideas for creating a new Jewish state.

It Is No Dream opens as "Der Judenstaat" is published by a small bookseller in Vienna. His literary circle in Vienna has ridiculed him, many Jewish leaders in Europe and the US have condemned his ideas, and his friends and family are convinced that he has lost his grip on reality. However, a number of intellectuals, such as Max Nordau and religious leaders like the Chief Rabbis of Paris and Basel, have voiced their support for Herzl's plan. In a short period of time, a grass roots movement of oppressed Jews in Russia, Poland and much of Eastern Europe have joined Herzl's Zionist movement. In short order, the formerly assimilated Jew who wanted nothing more than to be a successful dramatist, is overseeing an organization with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of supporters. He is holding audiences with the German Kaiser, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, high ranking British cabinet ministers and politicians, the Pope, the King of Italy and other personalities. He finds backing from the English branch of the Rothschild family, which originally rejected him. Yet, despite these successes, his mission was fraught with obstacles and frustration. He was taken advantage of by Ottoman officials with whom he was trying to negotiate a scheme for mass Jewish settlement in Palestine. After the infamous Kishiniev pogrom, when Great Britain offered Herzl territory in East Africa for a Jewish state as an alternative to Palestine, he was faced with angry opposition from the ranks of his Russian Jewish supporters. Herzl's personal life was also difficult. His marriage was an unhappy one from the beginning. His health was extremely fragile leading to his untimely death at 44.

Using his own money, Theodor Herzl created the World Zionist Organization, which hundreds of thousands of people joined. He started a newspaper, "Die Welt" ("The World"), and went from ridicule and obscurity to becoming an internationally respected political leader in less than 9 years. Neglecting his health, his family and his career, Herzl inspired a movement, but died young. Some 52 years after completing "Der Judenstaat", the modern state of Israel was established, an act that never would have occurred without the vision and the tenacity of this formerly assimilated Hungarian Jew who until his late twenties wanted nothing more than to be a successful playwright.

It Is No Dream follows Herzl as he meets with Kings, Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, a Sultan, a Pope and government ministers from Constantinople to St. Petersburg, from Paris to Berlin, from Vienna to Vilna. The film illustrates the dramatic stories of the Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia, victimized by pogroms and other anti-Jewish violence and decrees, who became the first and the strongest supporters of Herzl's movement. It Is No Dream also presents the recollections and memoirs of those Jews who, inspired by Theodor Herzl, decided to settle in Palestine in the 1890's and the early 1900's. It also highlights Zionists such as Max Nordau (best selling social critic), Chaim Weizmann (Israel's first President) and David Ben Gurion (Israel's first Prime Minister), who were early adherents to the cause. And it examines Herzl's vision for what the Jewish state would become and how he advocated peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine.

It Is No Dream features rare archival film footage of the period and never before seen stills and artifacts. New material has also been shot in the places that Herzl lived and visited. Working with the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, the production team was given access to the original manuscripts of Herzl's plays, diaries and his handwritten version of "Der Judenstaat". A rare first edition of the booklet was also filmed for the documentary. Israeli President and Nobel laureate Shimon Peres appears in the film, discussing his recollections as a young boy growing up in a small Polish town about Herzl's importance in his upbringing and how his family was inspired by him to become Zionists and move to Palestine in 1934.

Co-written and produced by two-time Academy Award winner Rabbi Marvin Hier and cowritten, produced and directed by Academy Award winner Richard Trank, It Is No Dream is the twelfth production of Moriah Films and is slated for theatrical release in the Fall of 2012.