Friedrich Nietzsche said more than 150 years ago that God is dead. But I think God has never been more relevant than now. War crimes, terrorism and social conflicts throughout the world still emerge in the name of religion today. As a filmmaker, I have always been fascinated by religion. Being married to a Jewish man, I realized quite quickly that I had prejudices and ideas about the nature of Judaism. I needed to confront this somehow. When David Lazar came to Sweden I realized that this could be a good opportunity to understand Judaism in a more comprehensive way. Also – because I had one foot outside and one inside the Jewish congregation, I realized that this would make me a perfect candidate for making a film about David Lazar. The story problematizes what it means to be a leader. Do you fight and stand for different political values or not? Is it worth taking immediate action or should you move slowly and hope for gradual change? What are the consequences in practice? It also describes the problems that arise for Jews in the diaspora around the world. How much can/should you change and still retain traditions?
The film is told through David's own story and interview. Oppositions and views are also described by friends, enemies and members of the congregation. There is illustrated archival material, and photos and graphics of David in California, Israel and Sweden. I'm inspired by the movie Tabloid by Errol Morris, who allows his main character to first tell her own story and perspective which are later contradicted by journalists and experts describing how history evolves from a different viewpoint. I want the audience to go from loving Lazar to doubting his intentions and desire for change - as much as I did when I stood by and documented the entire trip.
Like Errol Morris, however, I would like to keep my main character charming and well-liked despite his shortcomings. Above all, I want the scenes to be filled with humor and charm.
The film consists mainly of material filmed on Alexa from the USA, Israel and Sweden. Some of the material is from the director's own first recordings of DVCam which is very different from the Alexa material. To give it a fun touch these will have an animated grain style in a square box.
Since the film is about David Lazar - a man who is a musician himself and loves music, we will work on what best describes Lazar: from jazz, to klezmer and rock. Lazar is a person who likes to keep up to date with the "new" music and therefore I would like to include Swedish pop musicians that Lazar himself liked when he discovered them in Sweden, such as Lykke Li and Ane Brun. I also want to include music from Queen, Led Zeppelin and similar artists that reflect Lazar's struggle for LGBTQ issues.
Much of the music describes his condition in the film, from a happy revolutionary rabbi to a person in crisis and close to losing his job. The music is also a description of the time documents of the USA in the 70s, Israel during the 80s and 90s and Sweden today.
Lazar's first years a rabbi reflects on the political movement and the LGBT movement in Israel between 1970-1990. I want to combine archival material, animations and still images with the filmed material as we tell his controversial past. I want to go from past to present through David Lazar's own personal story while photos and archive material pop up.
For example, when we are in the present, I want the discussions on Facebook be the “archive” of the present.I wont Facebook to look a bit retro but more high-tech than the former archive material from USA and Israel.