Sorrow Demons, Joy Blizzards – About the filmPosted by Rotem Faran
“Sorrow Demons, Joy Blizzards” tells the life story of Oren Barzilay, an Israeli musician and artist. Oren was a promising young singer at the beginning of the 1990’s. Following his initial success, the changing tides in Israel in the mid-90’s led to his band’s failure and dissolution. In July 2008, in the middle of a promising comeback, Oren was stricken with a rare syndrome called Guillian-Barré, which in a few days left him paralyzed from head to toe. After a lengthy and painstaking rehabilitation which enabled him regain use of his body, Oren wrote and composed a moving album telling his life’s story- the self-examination of a man who has lost everything and was re-born. Following his rehabilitation, Oren decides not to go back to the concert circuit, instead choosing to erect a stage in the middle of his home and embark on a weekly personal show, where he shares his experiences and memories with the audience.
The film “Sorrow Demons, Joy Blizzards” remains true to Oren’s artistic vision, taking him on a documentary journey to all the painful and unexpected places in his life.
Following his meteoric rise as lead singer at 17, Oren experiences rejection by the crowds in his band’s second and third album, made more painful by the changing atmosphere inIsrael-the murder of PM Rabin, the wave of suicide bombings and the disintegration of the peace process. Oren decides to venture out on his own toLondon, but is deported even before entry, after being flagged by passport control. Rejected and disillusioned, Oren sentences himself to almost a decade-long exile inNew York, away from friends, family and music. In 2008 there is a resurgence of interest in Oren’s music inIsrael, and he is tempted to return and try for a comeback- which is cut short by his sudden paralysis.
Oren undergoes 6 months of excruciating rehabilitation, where he learns everything anew- how to stand, walk, talk, sing. Upon recovery, he decides to leave his wife and baby girl who stood by him during his illness, and to dedicate his life to his art- turning his ordeal into songs, stories, monologues and collage works. Oren furthermore decides not to perform in regular music venues, but to invite small audiences to an intimate “home show”, where he tells them of all he’s been through. Without a hint of self pity, with humor and courage, and above all- with heartfelt sincerity, Oren has performed over 200 times in homes inIsraeland abroad.
The narrative framework for the film is Oren’s songs and personal monologues, as they are rendered in his unique “home show”. This forms the live musical documentary aspect of the film. Following that initial impulse, the film continues on two narrative axis- the first is a chronological recounting of Oren’s life, told through the places which shaped them- his childhood inHolon, rise to fame in Tel-Aviv, and exile in New York. The second is a stream of fragmented memories from his paralysis and period of soul searching in the hospital, told in a very subjective and fluid way, interweaved into the chronological timeline. These narrative lines converge at the point in Oren’s story where he becomes paralyzed, and from that point on the film goes on to recount Oren overcoming his illness in the hospital, reconstructing his life step by agonizing step in rehabilitation, and then shows his new life following recovery, alone and struggling with his new-found artistic voice.
The film offers an insight into the life of an artist- the demons accompanying him, his attempt to turn pain and suffering into meaning and art, the divide between the performer and the person underneath, between fame and solitude. It raises philosophical questions of planning, fate, destiny, religion and God, the same questions which define our lives as human beings. Oren raises himself from the depths with an unending passion for life and art. His story has spoken to thousands of people, sitting on the floor or in plastic chairs in a small Tel-Aviv apartment- that something of his life, extraordinary as they may be, tells them something about their own.
Sorrow Demons, Joy Blizzards: synopsisPosted by Tomer Bahat
The real life story of Oren Barzilay, an Israeli musician, coming to grips with the pain of the twists of fate in his life: his meteoric rise, rejection by the audience, addiction, sudden paralysis and rehabilitation, leaving his wife and child. All his fears and hopes expressed through his art and music.
Dark Blue- (Oren Barzilay-Tel Aviv- Indie City)Posted by Rotem Faran
Dark Blue- (Oren Barzilay-Tel Aviv- Indie City)