Natalie Portman Directs 'A Tale Of Love And Darkness' & The International Trailer Shows The Film Is A Remarkable Feat — VIDEO

Natalie Portman is an actress who has always continued to challenge herself. At 16 years old, she grappled with extremely difficult subject matter and starred in The Diary of Anne Frank on Broadway, and soon took a break from acting altogether to study Psychology at Harvard University. She famously lost 20 pounds to play ballet dancer Nina Sayers in Black Swan, for which she won an Oscar. She might just win another Oscar for her next film, which could be for acting, screenwriting, directing, or even Best Foreign Film. The international trailer for Portman's A Tale of Love and Darkness was released on Thursday. It is entirely in Hebrew and without English subtitles, but, as Vulture points out, the images and her acting are so powerful that you don't even need to know the language to go on the emotional journey.

At 560 pages, A Tale of Love and Darkness is an epic memoir by Israeli author Amos Oz that weaves the stories of his childhood with the details of his mother's (played by Portman) devastating battle with depression, set against the backdrop of the creation of the State of Israel. It is a project that is extremely difficult for even the most experienced filmmakers and scholars. Despite its persistence in the news and in the lives of many, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom explored in popular culture, perhaps because of the difficult nature of the subject matter.

But, Portman is fearless, and, as the first international trailer demonstrates, she was truly up for the task of bringing this important chapter of history to life. The film was an official selection and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and rumor has it that it will be at the Toronto International Film Festival before coming to the States.

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I am a proud Hebrew School graduate, so will give you the highlights from the trailer. It opens with Portman's character, Fania Oz, telling her son, Amos, to go to sleep. "I'm not tired," he says. "Fine, let's find a story," she answers. As the images flicker, Portman turns to her adorable young son, and says, "Nobody knows anything about anyone else, and also people don't know much about themselves... It's better to live without knowing anything." The Hebrew words on screen say, "To dream is to live."

The final voiceover from a man, presumably an adult Amos, says, "Both hell and paradise can be found in the same room. A little wickedness, is hell between people. A little mercy... is paradise." This film is bound to be an emotional roller coaster, which will become even clearer when the English subtitles are added. Portman should be celebrated not only for her many accomplishments, but also for the fact that she doesn't rest on her laurels. Even though at this age, when she could probably just retire or stick to rom-coms and Marvel movies, she continues to challenge herself and her audience — and A Tale of Love and Darkness look like it could be her best film yet.

Image: YouTube