Based on true incidents of suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, ‘The Engineer’ by Israeli director Danny A. Abeckaser takes us back to 1990s Israel, in the thrilling manhunt for the mastermind behind them. After a series of bombings leave the nation rattled, a covert team is assembled to find the engineer who made the bombs and planned the attacks. Ex-Mossad agent Etan leads the task force comprised of elite agents and mercenaries, and in conjunction with other security organisations begins to track down his target. A U.S. senator’s daughter is killed in the explosion, mounting further pressure on his operation.
The narrative also looks through the antagonist, Yehiyah Ayyash’s point of view, and the past that led him to become hateful. He was a qualified engineer but was restricted by Israel in pursuing his career in Jordan or Lebanon. The team’s covert operation including the the super-secret Mistaharavim unit takes them into the heart of enemy territory in Gaza as they throw everything they have at catching the mastermind. The film takes us between ravaged streets and disheveled urban landscapes, and it may leave you wondering if the action thriller was shot on location in Israel and Gaza.
Where Was Engineer Filmed?
‘The Engineer’ was filmed entirely on location in Israel, with its cityscape of Gaza portrayed through sets in Tel Aviv. Principle photography began in late July 2022 and was wrapped up by August 16 of the same year. While some cast and crew were brought from the States, including the lead actor, Emile Hirsch, most of the talent was sourced locally from Tel Aviv.
Filming took place during a turbulent time in Israel-Palestine relations, and the film crew experienced a share of the conflict up close. Of the experience, Hirsch said, “During production, for a period of about five days, we were under regular rocket fire and had to periodically go into bunkers at whatever location we were in, a horrifying reminder and tiny glimpse of what that life in that part of the world for so many innocents is like.” Let us take you through the locations chosen to film the action thriller.
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
A majority of ‘The Engineer’ was shot primarily in the historical city of Tel Aviv in the Gush Dan metropolitan area. The city is about 40 miles from Gaza City, which is also seen in the film, making Tel Aviv a suitable location to portray the Palestinian city, given its geographical similarities. The film also uses archival footage from the time, briefly mixing a documentary style of storytelling. The historical scenes shown by it include the singing of the Oslo Accords, the city’s panic during the explosions, and the subsequent backlash.
The film crew was seen filming in the Beit Dani Community Center at Simtat Kabir 21. The council-run community center has a spacious yard, and a bomb shelter adjacent to it. It is located in the middle of a dense urban sprawl with similar backdrops seen in parts of the film. It is located in the Hatikva Quarter, a working-class neighborhood in southeast Tel Aviv with a market that serves as a cultural melting pot of cuisines and apparel.
Tel Aviv’s blend of modernity, cultural richness, and scenic beauty provides a unique canvas for diverse narratives. Its Mediterranean coastline, bustling markets, and lively atmosphere create an authentic backdrop for filmmakers seeking a combination of urban sophistication and cultural vibrancy. The city has been used as a filming location for productions like, ‘Appointment with Death,’ ‘Out in the Dark,’ ‘5 Broken Cameras,’ ‘Eyes Wide Open,’ and ‘The Order.’
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