February 14, 2008 / 7:12 PM / in 10 years

Israel's Teddy Kollek inspires son Amos's film

<p>Director Amos Kollek poses during the photocall for the film 'Restless' running in competition at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 14, 2008. The 58th Berlinale, one of the world's most prestigious film festivals, runs from February 7 to 17 in the German capital.Johannes Eisele</p>

BERLIN (Reuters) - Amos Kollek said his difficult relationship with his famous father Teddy Kollek, an important figure in Israeli history and long-time mayor of Jerusalem, was the inspiration for his film "Restless."

The Israeli director, after Thursday's premiere of the drama about the bitter estrangement of a father and his son at the Berlin Film Festival, said he felt cheated out of having a father even though he said it seemed everyone else envied him.

"I had feelings of anger towards my father," Kollek, 60, said. "It's because I didn't see him that much. I was a little short-changed. People always told me I was so lucky to have him as a father.

"I always wanted to reply 'I don't really have him as a father that much'. He'd work till midnight and come home and fall asleep. My father's priority was clearly Israel. I think he was a good, responsible man. But his family was not his priority.

"His first priority was Israel."

Kollek, one of Israeli's most famous leaders and an advocate of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, died last January at age 95.

Kollek became mayor of Jewish West Jerusalem in 1965, two years before Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in a Middle East war. He was re-elected five times before losing in 1993.

"He was there as mayor and I felt he was less my father," said Kollek. "But at the same time I felt a great deal of closeness and love for him. This film clearly comes from my relationship with him. He died just before we started shooting."

Kollek was asked if he thought his father would have liked the film about a down-on-his-luck middle aged poet who fled Israel and abandoned his wife and infant son, 21 years earlier to move to New York.

"I think so," he said. "He wasn't a big movie goer. But because it's about Israel, my sense is he'd like it. I hope so."

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