A Place Called Yesterday
A Film Created by Ari Gradus
Following the CBE Annual Meeting, everyone took a seat facing the large screen and was treated to a marvelous film which Ari Gradus not only acted in, but also wrote, produced and directed. It was a thrill to see him back in 1977, trudging through a vast expanse of sand dunes, as he returns to his childhood village in Israel. Carrying a suitcase and over the shoulder bag, he walks out of the sand into the place where he had grown up.
Ari climbs a large tree so that he can look out over his village off in the distance. Arriving at his childhood home, he finds it in a state of disrepair. New buildings are intermingled with remnants of the old. We can see what had once been through Ari's eyes. He had a best friend who became his blood brother. They had played Cowboys and Indians and, during one pretend battle, Ari was accidently shot in his rear with an arrow. They played pirates and Tarzan, too. The mischievous boys once invented a device with a mirror that they pushed up to a second-floor window to spy on one of the girls from the village as she was undressing for bed. Of course, the periscope fell and crashed noisily to the ground and they had to make a speedy getaway so that her father wouldn't catch them.
The culmination of the film comes when Ari is reunited with his long-lost blood brother. They are overjoyed to see each other once again after so many years. But it soon becomes clear that his friend is now a building contractor who has been developing the area. With Ari watching in disbelief, his friend's workers cut down the eucalyptus tree where the boys had had their treehouse and spent so much time bonding and fantasizing. While Ari is clearly heartbroken, his friend is oblivious. The movie ends with Ari trudging back across the sands, sadly leaving behind the place that had once held such special memories.