Nadiv Molcho – the young actor, director and member of the NENI clan – is used to defying naysayers. His first feature film is The History of Now
The world of Nadiv Molcho – a hyperactive 27-year-old actor-director – is a multicultural stew of flavors and inspirations. Meeting over Indian curry and New York cheesecake at his Israeli mother’s flagship restaurant NENI on Vienna’s Naschmarkt, the youngest scion of a well-known, successful local family has had little reason to doubt his own potential. “I never had to wait in line, struggle as a waiter or bartender or anything. But that’s also why I feel I have to work harder.” He had a rude awakening in Los Angeles, where his European connections meant nothing. Promises of help were no more than airy schmoozing: “The first question a producer asked me in L.A. was what do you do? I said I’m an actor. And she’s like, Oh, what restaurant?” Molcho struggled to get representation; casting agents told him to play off his look and go for Adrien Brody-type roles, and he found no one was interested in his filmmaking efforts thus far.
Far from letting these and other setbacks dash his hopes, Molcho decided to use €25,000 of his own money to make a movie that could propel his career forward. After all, his generation grew up with all the relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use digital tools that allow anyone to become a hyphenate blend of artist, filmmaker, photographer, DJ, and composer.
The result is an ambitious debut effort: he is History of Now’s star, director, writer and producer, and even made a song for the soundtrack. “I want to set a certain standard for myself. The older I get, the deeper I want to work on something. I quickly realized the only way I was going to achieve that was to create my own opportunities. If I’m the director, I can choose to cast myself. If I’m also the writer and producer, I get to choose everyone.”
History of Now, a romantic drama of first love gone awry set in Vienna and Morocco, is loosely based on Molcho’s own experiences – he admits he didn’t see Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater’s romantic classic also set in Vienna, the gold standard of falling in love while meandering around a beautiful old city.
Sadly, the film suffers from relatively typical first-time technical and structural issues – a result of a hasty three-week pre-production period, and a deliberate decision to throw away the rulebook before filming. “We started rehearsing the dialogue, and I quickly realized: ok, we’re not really getting it, it doesn’t sound natural. I need this film to be realistic, to reflect rawness, and so I said, I wrote the script, we all read it, now let’s throw the script away. There’s two, three key moments I want in each scene, but around those, we can improvise. And that was just the best decision ever because it gave us all a close bond that is hard to create when you have a director telling you what to do. I directed the film, but I like to say we all directed it.”
Fortunately, Molchos are known for working together as a tight team to ensure they all succeed. Their business and home locations feature prominently in the film; his mother, father and eldest brother Nuriel play significant roles. Molcho shot the film partly in Morocco because his mother was there already to research recipes for a new cookbook. And in the end, a rather scrappy production defied all expectations to screen at international film festivals and find distribution. As their family motto states, “Life is beautiful.”
Starts Feb 24
9., Währinger Str. 12