director: Dan Wolman
producer: Dan Wolman Film Productions Ltd
cinematographer: Dani Schneor
screenwriter: Shoshi Wolman
cast: Doron Tavori, Yuval Livni, Einav Merkel
Year of Production: 2022
Countries of Production: Israel
International Sales Agent: Go2Films Hedva Goldschmidt
The two protagonists of this film grapple with the humanity of Jesus and whether Judas was a traitor at all.
The controversial story "Judas" is set in Jerusalem in the winter of 1959. Shmuel Ash (26), who has dropped out of university takes a live-in job as companion to an elderly, incapacitated man, Gershom Wald, who needs someone with whom to argue.
Wald learns from Shmuel that he has stopped working on his thesis, which dealt with Jewish views on Jesus. The conversation between these two protagonists grapples with the humanity of Jesus, but at the same time sees the story of Christ and the betrayal of Judas as responsible for more bloodshed than any single story in history. Shmuel Ash tells Wald about his alternative theory of Judas Iscariot. He says he believes Judas was not a traitor at all, but in fact, the truest believer in Jesus’ divinity.
Another important part of the story is the relationship that develops between Shmuel and Wald’s daughter-in-law, Atalia Abravanel, a sensual and mysterious woman. Shmuel falls in love with her in what becomes a tender coming-of-age tale. Atalia works as a private investigator in exposing infidelity and betrayal.She asks Shmuel to join her in trailing people. These outings give their romance a chance to warm up in the cold wintery Jerusalem nights.
Interestingly, the story of the betrayal of Judas is juxtaposed with the story Atalia's late father, Shealtiel Abravanel, who had developed close links with the local Arab population, opposing David Ben-Gurion (Israel's first prime minister and founding father) over the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 and advocating instead that Jews and Arabs should live side by side as equals in a country under international control. But, his colleagues reject his views, saying that he is a traitor, conspiring with Israel's enemies.
Samuel actually gives betrayal an original interpretation: the traitor is by his very nature reborn, leveling a path, ahead of his time. The negative label is affixed to him by those who are not yet ripe to accept his vision, and therefore he is taken out of the camp and marked as a traitor. A traitor, says Samuel, is in his eyes, at times, is someone to respect for daring and courage.