From the point of view of "Golda" director Guy Nattiv, the casting of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir with the non-Jewish Helen Mirren is not a problem. "When I met Helen at my home, it felt like I was meeting a family member, like an aunt," said the Oscar winner ("Skin") on Monday in Berlin during the Berlinale. "As a Jewish, Israeli director, I have no problem with that."
He was responding to a debate about whether Mirren, as a non-Jew, could take over the role of Meir, who was head of government in Israel from 1969 to 1974. "For me it felt like I was meeting a Jewish person," said Nattiv. For him it was only important to embed the actress in an Israeli team in order to make an Israeli film. In addition, Israeli and Jewish actresses and actors acted without restrictions all over the world.
Helen Mirren was Golda Meir for 35 days
"To me, Helen is one of the best actresses in the world," added Nattiv. Meir's grandchildren were also very convinced of the cast.
The film tells the situation during the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel on the one hand and Egypt, Syria and other Arab states on the other.
There is a lot of smoking in the film. "This is also an image of the ambiguity of the situation," said Nattiv. At the same time, the war is transported into the scenes without the corresponding images being shown. Meir did not belong to the military, but was a politician. She was extremely challenged in view of the decisions to be made.
British actress Helen Mirren in Berlin.
Oscar winner Mirren ("The Queen") spoke of Meir as an "incredibly strong person" who dedicated her life entirely to Israel. "The film isn't a biography, it's about the part that challenged her the most." In preparation, she read a lot about Israel and Meir and saw films. The role had previously been played by Ingrid Bergman and Anne Bancroft.
The war hit Israel at a very early stage in the country. "At that time there were only a few young people in Israel," said the 77-year-old. "It was the loss of a generation," she said, describing the impact on the country.
For the implementation of the role, Mirren, who is barely recognizable in the film, referred to the importance of costumes and make-up. Nattiv said of the shooting: "Helen was not seen for 35 days, only Golda."