Tintin in Holy Land

Dossier ~ Wednesday 13th March 2019

Arrival by Sea

The first time Tintin set foot in the Holy Land was in 1939, eight years before the Palestine partition plan on 29th November, 1947, and nine years before the creation of the State of Israel on May 14th,1948.

In the adventure Tintin in the Land of Black Gold, 28th December,1939, pre-publication in Le Petit Vingtième No. 52, Tintin embarked on the Speedol Star as radio-telegraphist and landed at Caïffa, a port on the Mediterranean created by Hergé, inspired by the Northern Israeli port city of Haifa, which was known as Caifa or Caïffe in French, at the time of the Crusades and the Mamelukes.

Caïffa, Haïfa or Khemkhah

In the first edition of the book, Caïffa became, ”Haifa”.

Haifa is actually the most important port in Palestine, under British mandate at the time. Tintin goes there to investigate a case of petrol which has been tampered with,Tintin in the Land of Black Gold. Haifa is located north of the Lebanese border, at the foot of Mount Carmel, in the bay of Saint-Jean d’Arc.

חֵיפָה Hebrew; حيفا Arabic

Hergé renamed Haifa, “Khemkhah", which means "I'm cold" in a Brussels dialect. It was named “Khemikhal” in the English editions, and is a port in Khemed, a fictional Arab country created by Hergé.

90th Anniversary

In 2019, the world celebrates Tintin’s 90th birthday. After Seoul, Barcelona, Brussels and Lisbon, next stop was Tel Aviv.

The Embassy of France and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium organized a sound experience at the Institut Français in Tel Aviv to honor his adventures, sorry, …his adventure, Cigars of the Pharaoh. All this in the context of the Francophonie week. Fans of all ages in the attendance were delighted by the performance.

The concept of sound cinema is a bit mysterious since it highlights the sound over the image. Images are here used only as a support to the vocal performance act by actors.

The event took place in collaboration with France Culture, the Comédie-Française and the Orchestre national de France. This motionless motion sensurround, consisting of synchronizing voices, sound effects, music to action, panel by panel, is obviously a panegyric of Hergé's art on how to tell a story. An immersive sound experience that transported the audience into a timeless and totally atypical dimension. As if the eyes of the famous fakir at the sight of a reptile had paralyzed the public.

Children in particular were captivated as the adventures of Tintin were unfolding. To make it short: these really were two hours of a vibrant sound experience thanks to the immense talent of Hergé, Tintin’s father.

Tintin in Hebrew

Tintin is not unknown in the city of Tel Aviv. There was a time when his adventures were published in Hebrew. King Ottokar’s Sceptre was the first Tintin book published in the official language of the State of Israel in 1964, by the publisher MACHBAROT. From 1987 until 2011, MIZRAHI/MAARIV published twelve other titles.

Since then, these editions have disappeared from bookstores because they read from right to left, like Arabic.This peculiarity raises the delicate question of inverted images, because Hergé created a syntax of movement which favours the "left-right" meaning.

A solution to this situation would be to offer the books everywhere in the same way and to only modify the reading direction of the speech bubbles for our Israeli and Arab readers, without modifying the tintintesque grammar.

Tintin, טינטי is pronounced, Tinetine.

Jerusalem Western wall
Jerusalem Western wall
Jerusalem Western wall
Jerusalem Western wall
Jerusalem Western wall
Jerusalem Western wall
Dome of the Rock - Al-Aqsa site
Dome of the Rock - Al-Aqsa site
Dome of the Rock - Al-Aqsa site
Site Plan of Al-Aqsa Mosque
Institut français of Tel-Aviv
Institut français of Tel-Aviv
Institut français of Tel-Aviv
Hebrew Albums
Hebrew Album
Cultural program of the Institut français
Poster of the evening
Sound cinema raffle
Sound cinema raffle
Sound cinema

Our reporter is happy to share the photos of his journey with you.

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