An intimate and unexpected documentary about the private life of Theodor Herzl.
To Eli, a Jerusalem documentary filmmaker, Herzl is a washed out icon. In the eyes of his Canadian brother-in-law, one of the world’s most avid collectors of Herzl memorabilia, Herzl is an inspiring superstar.
David attempts to convince his Israeli brother-in-law of the relevance of Herzl. But will he succeed…?
An unconventional documentary, this film is a personal look at the man who inspired so many – and his legacy which is still under debate.
Written & Directed by: Eli Tal-ElProduced by: Tal-El Productions & Willit Productions, CanadaLanguage: Hebrew and EnglishSubtitles: English, German and Spanish
Producer David Matlow talks about the legacy of Herzl on the Israel Forever Foundation website:
an interview about David Matlow and the MY HERZL project:
Over the last 41 years, Matlow has gone from being a middle-school student playacting a Zionist leader to becoming the world’s leading private collector of Herzl memorabilia. He owns between 2,500 and 3,000 Herzl-related items. He is not sure of the exact number, but people in the business tell him that of the handful of private Herzl collections in the world, his is the largest.
For the entire review by Renee Ghert-Zand, check:
"Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”
Not only good advice when Maria Von Trapp teaches do-re-mi. It is equally good advice - and especially important - when thinking about Israel, especially when the world demonizes it and questions its right to exist. There are multiple possible beginnings to the history of modern Israel: the covenant made to Abraham or the exile after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD being possible starting points.
For me, the story begins with Theodor Herzl.
For the entire article by David Matlow, check: http://israelforever.org/interact/blog/herzl_dream/
My Herzl available on DVD - http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/movie-reviews/2014/08/07/New-to-DVD-this-week-35/stories/201408070161
My Herzl: Two brothers explore the legacy of Theodor Herzl's life and career: http://www.therecord.com/whatson-story/4740385-new-on-dvd/
Director Eli Tal-El presents a fairly personal narrative here, with the film’s focal engagement revolving around interviews and the work of various people influenced or studying Herzl and carrying on Herzl’s legacy in some way today. The idea of the film itself began when the filmmaker’s brother-in-law David Matlow, a prominent Canadian attorney who is also the [self-described] owner of the world’s largest private collection of Herzl memorabilia, treated 27 of his closest friends and family members to a trip to Basel, Switzerland – a locale seminal to Herzl’s history as the site of the first Zionist Congress.
For the entire review in EMRO, please check: http://emro.lib.buffalo.edu/emro/emroDetail.asp?Number=5456
Matlow is dedicated to ensuring that Herzl’s “If you will it, it is not a dream” attitude is not lost on young people today.
When TORONTO attorney David Matlow was 12 years old, he and his good friend, Barry Simon, wrote a play for their seventh grade class in Jewish day school. They called it “The Hall of Zionists,” modeling it after “The Hall of Presidents” attraction at Disney World. Matlow remembers being Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his friend playing Theodor Herzl.
For the entire review, please check: http://www.jpost.com/Jerusalem-Report/Israel/HERZL-MAGIC-347126
“As the movie shows, Herzl was human just like us, which means we all have the potential to change the world for the better. Herzl causes me to ask myself every day, am I doing all that I can for the things I believe in?”
For the full story please see http://jewishreview.ca/images/JewishReview_Fall_13-LR.pdf#page=61
The typical Israeli "man on the street" view of Theodor Herzl is that he is an icon of the establishment, lacking in relevance in the contemporary period. But a successful lawyer from Canada sees things differently. He is a collector of Herzl memorabilia and sees Herzl as an inspiring historical figure. He decides to invite his entire family to his 50th birthday celebration which takes place in Basel, at the site of the First Zionist Congress. Thus begins the film, My Herzl, by Eli Tal-El, which uncovers so much fascinating material about the life of Herzl and the importance of his writings and thinking.
For the entire review by Amy Kronish, check: http://israelfilm.blogspot.co.il/
“The creation of the Jewish State was made possible by many unsung heroes. Though Theodor Herzl’s name may be better known than a few others, very few people know very much about him at all. David Matlow’s wonderful film about Herzl is a wonderfully enjoyable and educational movie with many an insight (who would have imagined, for example, that Herzl may have gotten the idea for a Jewish State from anti-Semitic legislators in the Austria of his youth?), and at the same time, testament to the power of an individual like Matlow to lovingly and tenaciously safeguard the legacy of someone who lived a century earlier. Interesting and inspiring, a film everyone who cares about Israel and matters Jewish should watch. “
Rabbi Daniel Gordis
Koret Distinguished Fellow
Shalem College, Jerusalem
Canadian, Israeli Filmmakers Discover Bond Between Theodor Herzl and Chicago’s African American Community – learn more at:
Toronto - David Matlow has long held a passionate connection to all things Herzl. A Toronto attorney and documentary producer by trade, as well as a leader of that city’s staunchly Zionistic Jewish community, Matlow also happens to possess the globe’s largest personal collection of Herzl memorabilia.
For the entire review by Daniel Horowitz/Times of Israel, check: http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-toronto-lawyer-asks-what-would-herzl-do/
Producer David Matlow and Filmmaker Eli Tal-El at the Herzl Urban Leadership Academy in Lawndale, Chicago (October, 2013): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow82GR0_-DM
Canadian, Israeli filmmakers, North Lawndale students soon to share dream in Northbrook
Matlow and Tal-El's film tells the personal saga of Theodor Herzl, the 19th century Hungarian journalist who organized the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897 and advocated for the founding of a Jewish state 50 years before modern Israel was established. A change agent whose legacy is still being debated, Herzl had to convince and motivate his own people to think in new ways before bringing his case to the masses.
For the entire review at Shalomlife.com, check:
As Toronto attorney and documentary producer David Matlow prepared to visit Chicago for the U.S. premiere of his and director Eli Tal-El's film, My Herzl, at the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema (October 9, 6:30 p.m., at the AMC Northbrook Court), he discovered there was a Herzl School of Excellence at 3711 W. Douglas Boulevard in the North Lawndale neighborhood of the city.
For the entire review at the Winnipeg Jewish Review, check: http://www.winnipegjewishreview.com/article_detail.cfm?id=3833sec=2title=Canadian_and_Israeli_Filmmakers_and_North_Lawndale_Students_of_Chicago_Soon_to_Share_Common_Dream_
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's Article about the Upcoming Showings of MY HERZL in Toronto on October 7th and 8th, 2013
“My Herzl” is a fresh, original look at Theodor Herzl, visionary of the Jewish State, through the eyes of a younger generation of Jews in Israel and abroad. Eli Tal-El’s film breathes new life into an iconic figure – providing a poignant perspective on Herzl’s private and public life.
Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, Director
The Vidal Sassoon International Center
for the Study of Antisemitism – SICSA, Jerusalem
An engaging and illuminating film about Theodor Herzl and how we remember him. Highly recommended.
Derek J. Penslar FRSC
Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History, University of Toronto
Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies, University of Oxford
A letter to Eli Tal-El, Director of MY HERZL:
"I recently saw your film MY HERZL.
As someone who has spent many long hours in search of appropriate visual materials about Herzl, I must say that your work is quite extraordinary. Your film is refreshing, new and unconventional. It takes a young approach and at the same time presents the complexity of Herzl quite successfully. You present the diversity of Herzl’s personality and provide the viewer with information about the man which is quite rare. With professionalism and precision you were able to reach a broad audience in order to shed light on the “visionary of the nation”. In so doing you brought this man to life and rescued him from a place of just being a cardboard icon, as he is mostly presented in classrooms nowadays.
I congratulate you on your new film and wish you that many people will watch it and enjoy it as I did. I know that I will do my utmost to make sure that a wide audience is exposed to your most welcome endeavor."
Division of Teacher Training
International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem
Coordinator, Northern District
Nothing irks Israelis more than Jews living in the Diaspora who try and explain to them what Zionism is and its importance – including the fulfillment of Zionism and aliyah to Israel. In his new film MY HERZL, Eli Tal El gets into this conflict in a loving and thankful way with his brother-in-law David Matlow - who is not only an ardent Zionist living in Canada, but also one of the leading collectors of Herzl memorabilia. His collecting of all things Herzl does not end with objects, but also includes studying all of his writings and the knowledge of all of Herzl’s personal conflicts.
In honor of his 50th birthday, David invites all of his family to join him in Europe as they trace the stations of Herzl’s life. The result is a different sort of film about Herzl. It is a text full of curiosity and humor where we get a chance to learn about the internal workings of Herzl the man, and from which we assemble an understanding of Herzl’s set of beliefs and his dream of returning to the historic homeland where an exemplary society will be built. Eli Tal El’s film is an opportunity to look back at Herzl and his thoughts in an interesting way, without the burden of history and with the honest desire to build a bridge between Israel and its Zionist heritage.
Eliezer Ya'ari, 2013
It has always struck us that Herzl is a too-little-focused on figure. We view him as the greatest man to have drawn a breath in a century, the 20th of the common era, filled with great figures. There are titanic figures — Churchill, FDR, Reagan — who saved countries and even civilizations. But there are few who brought them to life from as far back in history as Herzl.
For the entire article that shows why Herzl is so relevant today, check: http://www.nysun.com/editorials/obama-and-herzl/88230/
PDF article from the Canadian JEWISH LIFE
Toronto lawyer David Matlow has an incredible but unusual passion for the founder of modern political Zionism, Theodor Herzl. So much so that he has the world’s largest private collection of Herzl memorabilia and has now made a documentary film about Herzl’s life and times.
For the entire review by Sheldon Kirshner/The Canadian Jewish News, check: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/103527