Let's Spot Gila Almagor!

When my husband and I watch Israeli movies, we often play a little game we like to call "Let's Spot Gila Almagor!"

The great thing about getting to know Israeli pop culture is that basically the same six or so actors get recycled over and over. Gila Almagor, in particular, is one of the most famous of Israeli actresses, and her long career has resulted in roles in (it seems like) every major Israeli film from 1950 on. She's been described as the Israeli Judi Dench, but honestly, I don't think Dame Dench dominates English cinema the way Gila Almagor dominates Israeli screens.

Here she is in the classic Israeli immigration movie Sallah Shabati (1964), opposite Topol (Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof): (Btw, this is a great movie. Watch it if you want to understand Sephardi-Ashkenazi relationships in modern Israel; it's about the Sephardic aliyah. Topol plays an Iraqi or Iranian... a bit odd at first, since I saw him as the ultimate shtetl Jew!)
Here she is in The Summer of Aviya (1988):
Here she is with the cast of BeTipul, which was recently recast in America as HBO's In Treatment:

One of my favorite Gila Almagor movies is LelSeder (or "Seder Knight" in English), about a dysfunctional Israeli family getting together for seder.

Btw, the guy in the middle of the back row of the BeTipul cast-- Lior Ashkenazi-- is NOT Steve Carell. But doesn't he look like him? Or at least, Steve Carell if he got really depressed and also tan. Below you see Steve Carell on the left, Lior Ashkenazi on the right... and I rest my case:


  1. The great part about Lior Ashkenazi is that my darling wife refers to him as "the Israeli Steve Carell". Which is not only a great title by its own right, but also causes her to look at pictures from movies like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and exclaim "oh! that's a movie starring the American version of the Israeli Steve Carell!" :-D

  2. As your darling wife, I can concur that this is true. :)

  3. And I'm pleased because, as your American Mom, I've actually seen two of these films, AND am beginning to recognize this actress now myself :-).


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