“Altneuland” by Sariel Keslasi

Altneuland (Old New Land) is a 2012 graduation film directed by Sariel Keslasi at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In the film, Keslasi re-interprets Theodor Herzl’s 110-year-old utopian novel Altneuland through contemporary eyes. He writes:

By using a surrealist allegory, the film tries to deal with the collapse of Herzl’s dream and seeks to emphasize the sense of absurdity and instability of my personal experience as an individual in the Israeli society.

I met the thoughtful Keslasi a few months ago at the Anifilm festival in the Czech Republic, where his film was in competition. Altneuland also was in competition at Annecy last month. Keslasi’s strong art direction and his cinematic eye for staging and cutting has already landed him work in the Israeli animation scene, where he recently worked on Ari Folman’s feature The Congress.


  • Ewan Horne Green

    Powerful satire, and those compositions are magnificent!

  • TStevens

    ,I agree that the art direction is quite nice. However, not being familiar with Theodor Herzl’s work, I didn’t have a clue what it was about. I did find some subtle humor in it though I’m not sure if I was suppose to be chuckling or feeling profound.

    Overall I like short films that can be viewed as entertainment first. If they can connect on a deeper level, whether that be philosophic or metaphoric, it is definitely a bonus.

  • chiliconkyle

    I am not familiar with Herzl at all but I don’t need to be to understand the metaphor. It may translate deeper than I am aware, but he keeps it simple, clear, and accessible to my own identity. In fact, the subtly is quite refreshing. Great animation.