Like several actors before her, Natalie Portman’s ambitions extend beyond merely working in front of the camera. Following in the footsteps of peers like Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and more recently, fellow Marvel star Chris Evans, Portman makes her directorial debut with A Tale of Love and Darkness, in which she also plays a leading role. The first trailer has arrived, teasing a gorgeous, poignant film set in Portman’s native Israel.

The Israel-born actress revisits her roots with A Tale of Love and Darkness, based on the autobiographical book by Amos Oz. The film offers a recounting of the founding of the state of Israel through the story of a little boy and his relationship with his long-suffering mother. Young Amos is played by Amir Tessler, with Portman playing his mother Fania and Gilad Kahana playing his father Arieh.

A family saga and a magical self-portrait of a writer who witnessed the birth of a nation and lived through its turbulent history. A Tale of Love and Darkness is the story of a boy who grows up in war-torn Jerusalem, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. The story of an adolescent whose life has been changed forever by his mother’s suicide. The story of a man who leaves the constraints of his family and community to join a kibbutz, change his name, marry, have children. The story of a writer who becomes an active participant in the political life of his nation.

A Tale of Love and Darkness played at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals this year where it received mixed reviews, with some criticizing the film for its depressing tone, and others praising it for its socio-political relevance.

The film doesn’t have a US release date yet.