Photographic Memories / Bump and the Grind

Keren Yedaya was pregnant during the filming of her second feature, 'Jaffa,' a condition she feels adversely affected the movie

During work on the film "Jaffa" (aka "Bride of the Sea" ), after five days of filming I discovered that I was pregnant. The filming turned into a nightmare. I arrived at the set every day suffering from nausea and morning sickness. I was tired and exhausted, and in that condition I had to direct every day for 14 hours, withstand all the tension and the work, and manage to maintain concentration. It was very hard. Instead of enjoying the filming as I did with "Or" in 2004, I suffered at every moment. Each and every morning I didn't know how I would manage to survive the day that awaited me. With every take I would close another eye. I was so tired. The tiredness of pregnancy is not caused by a lack of sleep.

Unfortunately it also harmed the film, and it didn't turn out just as I wanted. The pregnancy also paid a high price: I gained 30 kilograms, I neglected my health. Instead of being preoccupied with being a pregnant woman, I was preoccupied with the film. Even afterward, during the editing, the difficulty continued. I was under tremendous pressure to finish in time to submit the film to the Cannes Film Festival, and I remember that when I did the mix in Paris, I was already in my seventh month and could barely walk from the hotel to the Metro. And worst of all, I was suffering at the time from classic "pregnancy stupidity": I had a hard time making decisions, knowing what was good; I lost a lot of my confidence as a director.

Keren Yedaya

When this picture was taken, I was at the end of my eighth month, at the Cannes festival together with the wonderful actors. We were photographed right after the conclusion of the premiere screening. You can see that I'm hugging and holding my pregnant belly. Maybe trying to protect my child from everything this picture represents.

Now my son is 2 years old, and I'm working on a screenplay for my next film. I'm in a rush to make another film quickly, before I get pregnant again. I'm in a panic: I don't want to have another child first because then this project will be delayed by at least two years. But I'm suffering from anxiety. I'm already 38, what will happen if I continue to postpone the pregnancy until it's too late?

I tried to create a text for myself that says family is more important than making films, but my tragedy is I'm unable to stand behind that all the way. Being a good mother and remaining in such a demanding profession is an endless struggle. That's what the picture symbolizes for me. I feel that I have to protect my child from this picture, from this mother who is hanging around in Cannes, who spends hours on the set, who has something else in her life that may be too important to her. From the mother who chose to continue to be a film director.