‘How does it feel to be completely free at last?” asks Mike, a bearded American hippie, as he and his three newfound Israeli friends sit grooving around a campfire. “Man, I feel really turned on!”
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Mike has come to Israel by way of Rome, seeking to leave the horrors of combat behind and find a place where he and other flower children can “live as we see fit — without clothes, without governments, and without borders.” Tonight, Mike and his free-thinking compatriots believe they’ve found their utopia on a small, rocky island off the coast of Eilat; but tomorrow, reality will totally harsh their mellow.
The scene is from “An American Hippie In Israel,” the lone filmic effort by the late Israeli writer, director and producer Amos Sefer. The film briefly screened in Israeli theaters upon its release in 1972, but quickly vanished into obscurity after failing to find a distributor. Rediscovered in 2007 by Israeli film buff Yaniv Edelstein, “American Hippie” has since played to packed theaters at “midnight movie” screenings in Tel Aviv, and the film has recently received a deluxe Blu-Ray/DVD re-release in the United States, courtesy of cult film specialists Grindhouse Releasing.