JERUSALEM, SEPT. 16 -- Israel and the Soviet Union are planning their first joint movie, a comedy about the misadventures of a non-Jewish Soviet citizen who emigrates to the Jewish state, an Israeli filmmaker said today.
"It's a funny film that makes jokes about the bureaucracies of both countries," said filmmaker Yitzhak Kol. "America warmed up to China through ping-pong. Maybe we are starting with the script of a movie."
Kol, the president of G.G. Israel Studios Jerusalem, said the idea was born five months ago when Israeli-born Menahem Golan, president of Cannon Films of the United States, visited the Soviet Union for a film festival.
Golan suggested to Soviet officials that Cannon coordinate with an Israeli and a Soviet film company to make the film, Kol said.
The Soviet Union cut ties with Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, but relations between the two countries have improved since Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in March 1985.
A Soviet delegation, the first from the Kremlin to visit the Jewish state in 20 years, is currently in Tel Aviv handling consular affairs.
Earlier this month, George Daneila, who has directed 60 feature films in the Soviet Union, and scriptwriter Revaz Gabeiadze, from the state-run Mosfilm in Moscow, arrived in Israel with a draft script, Kol said.
A native Israeli whose father came from Latvia, now a Soviet republic, Kol said the script is about a Soviet Georgian who hears that many of his fellow countrymen who are Jewish are going to Israel and decides to try it himself.
"But he is not Jewish, and once he gets here, everybody thinks he is a KGB agent," Kol said.
"Under our plan, one-third of it will be filmed in the Soviet Union and two-thirds of it will be shot in Israel, probably mostly in Jerusalem," Kol said.
He also said that some of the 40,000 Georgians who have emigrated to Israel in recent years may "participate as actors or extras" in the movie.