Aharon Keshales

Once Upon a Time in the West

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of spooky time, the filmmakers behind The ABCs of Death 2 have all chosen their favorite movie deaths of all time, and Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado have agreed to shed some light on why they chose theirs. Take it away, Keshales and Papushado… There are million ways to die in the west, especially in Spaghetti westerns but the best way to go is being shot by the late and great Sergio Leone. This director really knows how to turn death into a huge spectacle of emotions. His death scenes are films within a film and the opening scene of Once Upon a Time in The West is the pinnacle of his work. For oh so many minutes Leone builds great tension by placing three gunmen in a train station. They all wait for their prey: Harmonica (Charles Bronson). It’s a long wait, and Leone stretches the time and our patience. By the time Harmonica gets out of the train we almost want to shoot him ourselves for having us wait so long. And then it happens. It’s quick and abrupt – the complete opposite of the build up. The composition is great, the pacing is spot on, but what makes this death scene the best in the history of cinema is the dialogue between the gunmen and Harmonica: Harmonica: Did you bring a horse for me? Gunman: Well…looks like we shy one horse. Harmonica: You brought two too many. The best lesson in subtraction we’ve ever had!

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ABCs of Death 2

Let’s not beat around the proverbial toilet-shaped bush here… the first ABCs of Death is a pretty dire affair. Out of 26 short films there are maybe a Billy Barty-sized handful of good to great ones with the remainder being a mix of lazy, dumb and poorly executed ideas. The announcement of a sequel was met with tepid anticipation because while that first film is unfortunate the idea behind the anthology — 26 directors, each with a letter of the alphabet, a miniscule budget and free reign to create a short relating their chosen word to the idea of death — is still a fantastic one overflowing with potential. Happily, ABCs of Death 2 is a far more entertaining and creatively explicit collection of creepy, fun and wild short films. (Read my full review here.) Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado (Rabies, Big Bad Wolves) came on board with a request for the letter F, and after signing multiple affidavits swearing that they wouldn’t be doing a short about farts or fucking they set to work on one of the anthology’s more dramatic and weighty entries. We spoke with the directing duo at last month’s Fantastic Fest about their first collaborative short film, political overtones, necessary cleavage and the fate of their much-teased back-burner project, the Israeli spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in Palestine.

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trailer big bad wolves english

One of my favorite films out of this year’s Stanley Film Fest was the sophomore effort from the darkly dynamic Israeli duo behind 2010’s Rabies. Co-directors/writers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado have followed up that bloody black comedy with the cruelly entertaining revenge thriller Big Bad Wolves, and after a couple months of it racking up awards and praise around the globe we’ve finally gotten the first English-subtitled trailer. The film follows a corrupt police detective and a grieving father who join forces to bring justice to the prime suspect in a string of vicious murders of pre-teen girls. What follows is a perfectly woven mix of tension, laughs and suffering. You’ll get to experience this twisted fairy tale for yourself later this year when Magnet releases it into theaters, but for now take a look at this gorgeous trailer below.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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