Jewish Film Archive Online
Our Main Page is www.Jewishfilm.com



THE RASHEVSKI TANGO

TITLE: THE RASHEVSKI TANGO
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Diana Elbaum
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: shown at the No Borders Film Festival 2001
TEXT: a collection of stories about a liberal Jewish family the concerns love, friendship, brotherhood and couples, which functions as a puzzle where each part is also a painting in itself.

Freedom Writers

TITLE: Freedom Writers
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Roko Belic and Adrian Belic
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: No Borders Film Festival 2001
TEXT: Documentary. FREEDOM WRITERS, tells the story of a young female teacher who makes a difference in the lives of problem students by teaching them Holocaust history, leading to the opportunity to travel the world and having a volume of their journals published.

Hedwig and The Angry Inch

TITLE: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: New Line video. See the website: www.get-hed.com
TEXT: A modern rock musical based on a stage play of the same name (as well as a Greek fable of male and female being one and later split by a Greek god) about being comfortable with your image and yourself. What's Jewish about a East German immigrant rock musician? In the film, his co-star, (M. Shor, lead guitarist, and main squeeze) is a character named Yitzhak who wears a Hebrew hat (chef). There is also a scene involving a Hasid. Andrea Martin, is Armenian, by the way, not Jewish.

101

TITLE: 101
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Hagay Levy / Daniel Paran, Aharon Phoyerstein, Daniel and Idit Paran
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Arabic, English subtitles
TIME: 100
SOURCE: Set Productions, Jerusalem setparan@zahav.net.IL
TEXT: Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org With Ramy Danon, Gur Alafy, Gur Yeay, Romy Abulafya, Jhony Arbid, Liat Glik, Gili Ben-Ozilio, Eden Harel, Raida Adon, Robert Hanig, Shimon Mimran, Shay Hadad, Ruty Burstein, Ofra Vaingerten. 101 is the hotline number for Magen David Adom - Israel's emergency medical service. The TV series follows the professional and personal lives of 10 characters in one of the Magen David Adom stations in Jerusalem. Young and old, paramedics and orderlies, volunteers and managers, Arabs and Jews, religious and secular - a human mosaic reflecting life in the MDA in particular and in Jerusalem in general. They all have to deal with death and blood on a daily basis, with the pressures in and out of the station, and with the crises, large and small, in their personal lives. They are not dulled by the disasters that they are exposed to; sometimes they try to push it aside, but their emotions always break through. Each episode of 101 follows one shift at the station, from morning to night, or from night to morning. The crews show up at various places and incidents: a car accident in the Judean Desert, a suicide attempt next to the Parliament building, an injury in Mea Shearim, a drowning, a euthanasia attempt, a riot in an Arab village, a drug overdose in a night club, a roadside birth, and more. The adrenaline that fuels their resourcefulness and their courage is mixed with the fears and hardships that these scenes raise. Their commitment to save lives sometimes clashes with their human weaknesses.

A LOVE BEYOND WORDS / AHAVA SH'EIN LETAARA BEMILIM

TITLE: A LOVE BEYOND WORDS / AHAVA SH'EIN LETAARA BEMILIM
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Shiri Tsur / Orna Yarmut
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 56
SOURCE: Orna Yarmut Productions, Ltd., 2 Koresh Street PO bOx 14581 Tel Aviv Israel 61143 Email ornayarm@zahav.net.il OR Ruth Diskin Films Ltd. , 8 Tverya Street, Jeruslaem 94543. tel 972 2 6222 086 Fax 972 2 625 6047 RuthDis@netvision.net.IL
TEXT: The film tells the story of the lives of the forty nuns of the Beit Jamal monastery near Beit Shemesh. Why did they decide to forgo motherhood and marriage and willfully commit themselves to a collective life of submission and worship in perpetual silence? This is the first time that the nuns permitted an outsider to document their lives, and the film attempts to deal with the cinematic challenge posed by their very silence: Is it possible to understand the silence without interviews, without words? A Love Beyond Words documents their lives, consecrated mainly to prayer, their modest chambers, the common worship in the church, the Sunday communal meal and daily activities. The nuns have no connection to the outside world aside from a few letters from family members and Sunday gatherings at which the Mother Superior reports on important world events. Is their existence entirely isolated from what is happening in Israel? Does the life of a nun who has taken a vow of silence change when she is sent from Paris or Rome to live at Beit Jamal near Beit Shemesh? This is a film whose cinematic idiom attempts to preserve the sense of mystery and the discretion of the nuns though the cinematography of Nurit Aviv and a soundtrack comprised of the nuns' chanting, their silence, and the texts from the diaries of quiet nuns from the Middle Ages to the present. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

INGIL

TITLE: INGIL
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Arnon Zadok / Doron Eran
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 80
SOURCE: H.A.I. Film and Television Productions for Export, Ltd., 2 Habima Square, Tel Aviv Israel Tel 972 3 685 0190 Fax 972 3 685 0459
TEXT: With Chaim Elmakis, Yonatan Cherchi, Omer Barne'a, Micha'el Hanegbi, Dani Litani, Eli Danker, Limor Goldshtein, Asi Hanegbi, Keren Wolf, Tal Zidkoni, Idan Bardach, Miki Geva, Oshri Cohen, Adi Ferber, Yosef Carmon. Four teenage boys find themselves incarcerated in an institution for juvenile delinquents that functions as a prison in every respect. Their stories, with tragic endings for three of the four, are interwoven in the film. Violence is directly and brutally depicted, including gang rape, murder, drugs, class violence and verbal abuse. This is a mad dance of wild youth whose futures have been destroyed. The various stages of their adolescent frustration, the desire to "be a man," the lack of direction and culture, the panic, thoughtlessness and lack of respect for others have led them to their shared cell. The film deals with incarcerated minors nearing 18 years of age who face the growing fear of transfer to adult prisons, where they become fresh meat or male prostitutes. Three of the boys in the cell will soon have to leave... Even at the very bottom, where these boys are, they can still be rescued, their souls still reached ... the four create a family unit; they help one another and become friends, even though their mutual aid may appear violent and strange to us. The film is based upon actual events. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

Altermania

TITLE: Altermania
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Eli Cohen / Zvi Shefi, Michal Avraham - Israel Film Service
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Israel Film Service, Jerusalem POB 13240 Romema Jerusalem 91130 Tel 972 2 651 3223 Fax 972 2 652 6818
TEXT: They quote his poems, compose melodies to his texts, gather he photographs, engage in heated arguments for and against. Thirty years after his death, Natan Alterman is the most widely read poet in Israel. Sarit wants to spend five minutes with him and shake his hand. Dror feels the poet's presence when he composes music to his words. Yehuda strongly identifies with him, saying: "Alterman is me." If they could meet him face to face, who would they find? Is there correspondence between young people's impressions of Alterman and the man as he is remembered by those who actually knew him? Was he the charismatic, clever, rational, bright, sociable Alterman, or was he a gloomy skeptic, bedeviled with a death wish? Was he an adoring lover or a cruel master? Did he zealously fight for justice, or hurt and torture those closest to him? Did he fight for the rights of the Arabs, or did he believe in Greater Israel? Alterman was all of these things and more: a brilliant artist and word magician, as well as a tortured man full of contradictions. Altermania examines the double personality of Alterman as seen by those who knew him face to face, friends and enemies, and by those born after his death. The film incorporates archival footage, poems and songs that have become permanent fixtures of Israeli culture. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001
Congrats to Oscar Nominees
Ellen Burstyn in Requiem For A Dream
Divided We Fall (Czech Rep.)
One Day Crossing
Into The Arms of Strangers
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy
Marcia Gay Harden in "Pollock"

Asurot / DETAINED

TITLE: Asurot / DETAINED
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Anat Even, Ada Ushpiz / Dan Setton and Anat Even
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English ST
TIME: 70. 73 in BETA.. 46 minutes in short version
SOURCE: Anat Even 18 Amzeleg Street Tel Aviv Israel. Anate@jazo.org.il OR Ruth Diskin Films Ltd. , 8 Tverya Street, Jeruslaem 94543. tel 972 2 6222 086 Fax 972 2 625 6047 RuthDis@netvision.net.IL
TEXT: Najwa, Nawal and Siham, Palestinian widows, live with their 11 children in a house on Shuhada St. in Hebron. Their house lies on the border; the facade is under Israeli military control, the back under Palestinian Authority rule. At the entrance is an IDF military post, on the roof the Israeli army has placed a lookout over Palestinian Hebron. Three women, trapped in the middle, constantly surrounded by Israeli soldiers, carry on their difficult lives in a perverse situation: the occupation becomes a routine, the absurd becomes a given. This is the story of an occupation that extends to the staircase and the roof of the house, where it encounters poverty, loneliness, pain, but also the small joys of everyday life. This is an internal prison, the external one is the ongoing occupation. "As Israeli women directors, fed up with the cumulative effects of oppression in the occupied territories, we wished to present the arbitrariness of the occupation as seen via the barred windows of an occupied house, to show the thin line between a smile and a gun shot. The intimacy and affection that developed between us and Najwa, Nawal and Siham during the course of our year of filming enabled us to present them in their full humanity, as real women, far from the stereotypical image of Palestinian women held by our society..." Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001. Sponsored by Soros documentary fund, and Israel Channel 8 (NOGA). Won prizes in Jerusalem, Leipzig

AMMUNITION HILL TAKE 3 / GIVAT HATAHMOSHET TAKE 3

TITLE: AMMUNITION HILL TAKE 3 / GIVAT HATAHMOSHET TAKE 3
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Micha Shagrir / Sigal Landesberg
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 56
SOURCE: Israel Film Service, Jerusalem POB 13240 Romema Jerusalem 91130 Tel 972 2 651 3223 Fax 972 2 652 6818
TEXT: July 1967. The Six-Day War is over. When its generals are deciding what to call it, Dayan proposes "The Last War." The IDF recruits its reservists for a huge production, to reconstruct the victory in front of the cameras of the Israeli Film Service. The camera crews and the soldiers are called up a second time, this time for a war over history. The reconstructions, free of blood, mistakes and enemies, are mixed in with the little footage shot at the actual time of the war, and together they are used to build and nourish the collective memory. July 2000. Micha Shagrir, a military correspondent in the days of the Six Day War, is sent by the Israeli Film Service to Ammunition Hill. There the paths of memory meet. Paratroopers who set out on the night of June 5, 1967 to hide on the hill, and the camera crew who orchestrated the reconstruction just a few months later, join in on one of the daily commemorative tours held on Ammunition Hill. Groups of soldiers and schoolchildren move through the trenches, tracing the path of those legendary paratroopers on their way to liberate Jerusalem. From the perspective of a generation away, Ammunition Hill Take 3 examines the twists and turns of the Israeli national memory and its presence in the young generation at the start of the 21st century. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

GIRAFFES / JIRAFOT

TITLE: GIRAFFES / JIRAFOT
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Tzahi Grad / Isaac Shani, Tzahi Grad
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 115
SOURCE: MH1-Investments Ltd., Tel Aviv. 2 Chen Blvd, TA Israel 64071. Tzahi@girafot.com See girafot.com also
TEXT: With Maital Dohan, Liat Glick, Tinkerbel, Micha Selektar, Gal Zeid, Elisheva Michaeli, Avaraham Selektar. A suspenseful human drama. For a synopsis, see their website. The film opens with a chase and woman falling from a building. Two and half years earlier in the story we meet three single women. Each accidentally gets into the car that is sent for the other. How will there lives change? Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

MY OWN TELENOVELA / HATELENOVELA HAPRATIT SHELI

TITLE: MY OWN TELENOVELA / HATELENOVELA HAPRATIT SHELI
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Jorge (Johanan) Weller
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Spanish and Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Weller Film Productions, Raanana Israel 43465 60 Hankin Street Weller@ bezeqint.net OR Nanni Weller Phone/Fax: 972-9-7425291 E-mail: weller@bezeqint.net
TEXT: In the past 22 years, since making aliya from Argentina to Israel, the filmmaker has only returned to see family three times. She returns with a film crew for two weeks to help her 78 year old nearly blind father, and 31 year old partly retarded sister, at the request of another sister. She feels the loneliness of her hometown, she smells the smell of neglect, she visits the grave of her mother and cries. She feels the guilt that comes from feeling that she abandoned them. She wants them to come to Raanana, so her children can have the grandfather and aunt that their friends possess. Will it lessen the guilt? Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

THE KEY / HAMAFTEAH

TITLE: THE KEY / HAMAFTEAH
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Dan and Noit Geva
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 56
SOURCE: Habayit Hakatom, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Margalit Zinati is a 76 year old spinster. She lives in Pequi'in in the Galilee and keeps her family tradition alive, Jews in a Druse-Christian-Moslem village. Her mother dies, and a relative, Ilan, arrives. He too wishes to keep the Jewish flame burning in this town, and argues with margalit to possess the key to the ancient synagogue. But then Isaac arrives, and he establishes a competing synagogue at the entrance to the village. What will become of the Zinati dynasty? Will Ilan give up on his pursuit of the keys? Will Isaac vacate and destroy his illegal synagogue as the courts have ordered him to do? Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

THE SECRET / HASOD

TITLE: THE SECRET / HASOD
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ronit Krown Kertsner / Noemi Schory
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English and Polish, Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 55
SOURCE: Belfilms Ltd. 12 HATASIYA ST TelAViv 67139 Israel BelFilms@Netvision.Net.IL 972-3-624 0780. OR GA&A, Rome GA & A Piazza Martiri di Belfiore 2 00195 Rome, Italy Phone: 0039 06 3613480 Fax: 0039 06 3614042
TEXT: How would you feel having your identity torn away from you and discovering that all that you ever knew about yourself and your family isn't true? This is the story of Catholic Polish citizens, who one day discover that their parents have kept their true identity from them and that they are actually Jewish. After World War II, many Holocaust survivors chose to hide behind a Catholic Polish identity to guarantee that no future Hitler would endanger their families' future. Today, more than half a century later, over twenty thousand cases have been registered in Poland alone of Catholic Polish citizens searching for their roots, often with devastating consequences. The "new Jews", living in Poland, a country where religion and nationhood are inextricably linked, often find themselves severed from everything they were ever familiar with. They are dislocated from their past, shunned by the society in which they have lived all their lives, belonging suddenly to something they know nothing about or may even despise. For them, nothing will ever be the same. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001, NY JFF in Jan 2002, and The Berlin Film Festival, February 2002

ZMANI / IT'S ABOUT TIME

TITLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ayelet Menahemi and Elona Ariel
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 54
SOURCE: Karuna Films, Tel Aviv
TEXT: From the moment of his birth, man's time is limited. The Israeli's time is far more limited, but he attempts to accomplish twice as much, pursued by a glorious past, an uncertain future and a dubious present. Israeli time is as fleeting as "wait a sec," as reliable as "just a moment," as relaxed as "what's your hurry," as close to eternity as "Hebron Forever," as hopeful about the present as "Peace Now," as lazy about the future as "it'll be OK." Perhaps it simply doesn't exist? The treatment of time in the film is not academic, but experiential. This is a mosaic of dialogues with the "Netivot Parliament," an Olympic swimmer, a girl, a psychiatrist, a news editor, a lifeguard, a start-up businessman, a stand-up comic, and more. In a country in which "Bedouin time" exists side by side with "Yeke time," Jewish time alongside secular time, a country in which the ticking of uncertainty threatens adults and challenges youth - all, without exception, march forward from the moment of their birth to their last day, the same as human beings everywhere. Four jazz musicians accompany the story of the improvised management of time since the unplanned birth of the state, seen through the human prism of the interviewees who attempt to understand how they spend the most precious thing of all and if any alternative exists. Do you have time to see this film?
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001, and the Toronto Intnl FIlm Fstival, September 2001.
It's About Time asks one simple question: What is Israeli time? The subject of national jokes, Israeli time can be as fleeting as "back in a minute," as reliable as "won't take long" or as procrastinatory as "what's the rush?" Israeli time ticks inexorably through a glorious past, an uncertain future and a dubious present. This superb documentary is a collage of dialogues from a dizzying diversity of personages - Olympic swimmer, old married couple, news editor, lifeguard, psychiatrist, waitress and men who play dominoes together year after year. With a jazz quartet setting the beat and a stand-up comic providing much more than jokes, this stunning film uses an inventive postmodern structure, the specificity of the video medium and extraordinarily tight editing to open out a narrowly national question into the universal realm of philosophy. And along with everything else, it's a laugh a minute.
Ayelet Menahemi was born in Tel Aviv in 1963 and graduated from the Beit Zvi School of Stage and Cinematic Arts in 1985. She has worked in film as a director, writer, editor and actor. Filmography: Crows (87), The Skippers 3 (91), Tel Aviv Stories (92), Divorce (92) and It's About Time (01).
Elona Ariel was born in Israel in 1958 and moved to New York City in 1978 to work as a musician. She established Karuna Films with Ayelet Menahemi in 1995. They have co-directed several documentaries including Doing Time, Doing Vipassana (97) and It's About Time (01).

HAVALIM VEKSHARIM / LINKS OF LIFE

TITLE: HAVALIM VEKSHARIM / LINKS OF LIFE
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Michael Lev-Tov / Orit Hoz
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 59 minutes
SOURCE: IBA, Jerusalem
TEXT: Links of Life portrays the life of four women. Three are giving birth and one has passed away. Her son, the writer Haim Beer, who turned his mother's small apartment into a large library where he works, describes the life of his dead mother. Most of the film takes place in the maternity ward of Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem. It documents the last weeks of the pregnancy of Dr. Revital Arbel, who is a doctor in the maternity department, through the birth of her son. Betty Cohen brings a daughter into the world, after two sons. Yelena Lapin gives birth to her first daughter, through vacuum procedure. The scenes, the sounds, the labor, the waiting, the pain, and the overwhelming joy are all captured in the delivery rooms. There too, is photographer Aliza Auerbach, who is preparing an exhibition on childbirth. We also encounter the fathers, but at the film's center is motherhood, the essential life force. The film works on many levels, juxtaposing various materials so as to form a unique cinematic experience. Saxophonist Albert Beger has composed the music score. He and his family appear in the film, blurring the borderline between the filmmakers and the protagonists. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

HAYA MUGENET / A PROTECTED ANIMAL

TITLE: HAYA MUGENET / A PROTECTED ANIMAL
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Dan Wolman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 41
SOURCE: Dan WOlman Production in Ramat Chen Israel
TEXT: Stars Lilian Berto, Sharon Alexander, Alex Lyn, Amir Mugrabi. "Protected Animal" is a story about betrayal. Oded (10) is excommunicated by his classmates because they suspect that he betrayed them by "informing" the crafts teacher. An innocent visit to the Safari by Oded and his mother ends in a shocking incident which traumatizes the boy's soul. David's honeymoon is abruptly cut off and he is forced to return to Israel, due to a mysterious telephone call from his former wife. The plot of the drama "Protected animal" could take place only in the complex Israeli reality, where the circles of the "personal" and the "national" are intertwined and people's fates are determined by both. The force behind the heroes of the drama is the destructive force of betrayal. A coincidental encounter in a zoo brings the heroes of this story together, and each pays the price of betrayal. In the microcosm of the family we learn of the relationships between its members. Similar relationships exist, on another level, in society between those who have power and those who serve them - between the individual and society as a whole. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

HAIFA IREINU / WADI, GRAND CANYON

TITLE: HAIFA IREINU / WADI, GRAND CANYON
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Amos Gitai / Amos Gitai, Lauren Trucheau, Michael Tapouah
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Arabic, English subtitles
TIME: 180
SOURCE: Agav Production Ltd., Tel Aviv
TEXT: On the eastern skirts of Haifa sits Wadi Rushmia, a region of abandoned quarries from the days of the British Mandate. Various groups have settled in the Wadi over the years. New Jewish immigrants, first from North Africa and Eastern Europe, then from Ethiopia and Russia came to live in this hole as well as Palestinian Arabs expelled from their homes. Throughout three chapters, filmed ten years apart, we see the changes that occurred in the Wadi, which serves as a microcosm of Israeli society. Wadi Grand Canyon is the third chapter in the series. Twenty years after the first film, the place has completely changed. A large commercial center has been built. New low-income housing projects have been constructed, housing new people. The series observes the changing demographics and also the changes in the architectural structures in the Wadi. In a film you can choose the site as if it were an archaeological excavation and reveal plane after plane the human elements composing the site. Through the documentary form we can observe the biographies of those who lived in Wadi Rushmia and around it. A unique opportunity to discover a place, a country and the destinies of those who lived there. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

HATUNA ME'UHERET / BELATED WEDDING

TITLE: HATUNA ME'UHERET / BELATED WEDDING
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Dover Kosashvilli / Marek Rozenbaum, Edgard Tenenbaum
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Georgian, English subtitles
TIME: 100
SOURCE: Transfax Film Production, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Alkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Kozashvili. Zaza is almost 32 and his Georgian family wants to see him married according to tradition. That means a pretty bride, under 18, from a respected family with rich parents and obviously, with a good reputation. Zaza himself is "a great catch" on the immigrant community marriage market and his parents drag him every evening to examine potential brides. He cooperates with them, not enthusiastically, but in deference to Georgian tradition. He examines the potential brides and captivates them without problem. At the critical moment, the deal falls apart! Zaza is madly in love with Yehudit-an older divorcee and mother of a 6-year-old daughter. For years, Zaza has been involved in an obsessive relationship with her and very discreetly visits every night. Yehudit is the epitomy of everything Zaza will never find in his family tradition, but one evening, Yasha and Lila find out about their son's secret life. The next day, backed up by militant relatives, they await him at the entrance to Yehudit's apartment. Zaza will have to choose between surrender to family tradition and total submission to love. But Zaza doesn't know what to choose... Produced with support from the Fund for the Promotion of Israeli Films, Keshet Broadcasting Ltd. and Arte Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

JUDITH / YEHUDIT - SIPURA SHEL GIORET

TITLE: JUDITH / YEHUDIT - SIPURA SHEL GIORET
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Avi Bohbot / Yuval Delshad and Avi Bohbot
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 45
SOURCE: Ocean Communications, Tel Aviv
TEXT: This is the story of Christine's immigration to Israel. She is a young German gentile, daughter of a minister, who had always dreamed of immigrating to Israel and linking her fate with the Jewish people. Today, 14 years after her initial absorption, she still feels like a foreigner. The mark of Cain was fixed upon her because of her German past and Christian origins. She chooses to undergo a strict, orthodox conversion and takes a new identity and name-Judith. Even after fulfillment of her dream and her conversion, Judith finds herself a stranger here among us, new and outcast. All along the way she encounters what she calls "the glass wall" of Israeli society, which prevents her from living as one of us. After she has virtually given up trying to obtain the invisible seal of approval from Israeli society, Judith believes that she will never be allowed to become one of us. She awakes from her illusions and reevaluates her great dream, a dream that crumbles in the face of hard reality. The film was partly made during the course of Remembrance Day for Fallen IDF Soldiers and on the eve of Independence Day at Rabin Square. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

MOLEDET / YOFI SHEL MOLEDET

TITLE: MOLEDET / YOFI SHEL MOLEDET
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ya'akov Gross
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: HEBREW ONLY
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Israel Film Archive-Jerusalem Cinematheque
TEXT: "Moledet"- the first film laboratory in Tel Aviv- was established in 1927 at the initiative of two pioneers of silent film and talkies in Israel: producer and translator Yerushalayim Segal and cinematographer Natan Axelrod. During its seven years of activity (1927-1934), it produced newsreels, entertaining advertisements and Zionist documentaries-a rich source of visual documentation of the pre-State period. The story of Yerushalayim Segal and the "Moledet" collection, which is preserved in the Israel Film Archive/Jerusalem Cinematheque, are the themes of this unusual historical documentary.
Moledet combines selected episodes from the story of the first Hebrew city and its inhabitants, on ordinary days and holidays, settlement life and agricultural work in the Hepher and Zebulon Valleys, in Netanya and elsewhere. Also shown here are the dedication of the Iraqi oil pipeline at Haifa, sports events including the first Maccabiah in Tel Aviv, the first Adloyada Purim celebrations, relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, advertisements, cultural and artistic presentations, and much more. The film was produced by the Israel Film Archive/Jerusalem Cinematheque for the 18th Jerusalem Film Festival. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

TITLE:
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

BETWEEN THE LINES / LE'AN AT NOSA'AT?

TITLE: BETWEEN THE LINES / LE'AN AT NOSA'AT?
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Yifat Keidar / Yosi Leon, Noam Shalev
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Arabic and English, English subtitles
TIME: 58
SOURCE: High Light Films Ltd POB 1830 Ramat HaSharon 47117 Osrael 9723-7488176 fax 9723 6471959 email: info@highlight.co.il www.highlight.co.il
TEXT: Ramallah. 12 o'clock midnight, absolute darkness. Voices of crickets. Shootings and bombing are severing the quiet. "Midnight. I woke up from shooting... well, I need to sleep a little bit." Amira Hass, from a video recording taken by her from the balcony of her house during the Intifada. Between the Lines is a voyage into Amira Hass' unique world, a reporter in the Territories for Ha'aretz newspaper. Today she is the only Israeli who lives in Ramallah, within the PA territories, Hass is an obsessed journalist, pursuer of justice, a rebel, a political animal, an only child of a mother who survived the Holocaust, who grew up in a militant Communist home. The film follows Amira during two years in Israel, in the Territories, in Boston and in Berlin. The film opens in 1999 during the period of peace euphoria. In Israel there is a great feeling of optimism, but Amira predicts that the peace process is stands on the verge of explosion. The worsening political situation affects Amira's daily life. Everything becomes absurd. Her water has been cut off, the army doesn't allow her to travel from place to place or go back home. Even going to see her mother turns into a complicated mission: getting out of Ramallah, avoiding the barriers, traveling hours on side roads only to visit her mother. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

HOMEMAD(E)

TITLE: HOMEMAD(E)
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ruth Beckermann
COUNTRY: Austria
LANGUAGE: german, English ST
TIME: 85
SOURCE: Austrian Film Commission, Vienna
TEXT: Two newspaper offices, a kindergarten, four restaurants, a hotel, a whorehouse, two dry-goods wholesalers-this is a partial list of addresses on Mark Aurel-Strasse in Vienna's First District, once the city's textile center. Ruth Beckermann, the director who brought East of War to the '97 JFF and last year, A Fleeting Passage to the Orient, lives here. Between the summer of '99 and spring of 2000, armed with a camera and sound equipment, she frequently went downstairs to talk with its residents. Some of the elderly Jewish textile merchants still active on the street speak of more difficult times, of repressing the horrors of the Holocaust. Some Jewish immigrants from Iran speak of the difficulty of adapting to a distinct mentality and a strange land. She also speaks to other local residents and individuals who work here. Homemad(e) was filmed over the course of a year and was edited chronologically, a fact that provides significant depth to the political upheavals underway at the time of the filming-the election victory and entry into the government of the Freedom Party led by extreme rightist Jörg Haider. The winter after the elections, most of those interviewed express their opposition to Haider, but more than one or two admit that they voted for him and support his views. As in all of Beckermann's films, here, too, one finds historical sensitivity and a present that cannot exist separately from the past. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

CROSSING BRIDGES

TITLE: CROSSING BRIDGES
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Niv Fichman
COUNTRY: CANADA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 45
SOURCE: Rhombus International Inc., Toronto
TEXT: The Maestro Pinchas Zukerman had a dream: to make a concert tour of Israel, the PA and Jordan. He embarked on the tour with Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra. They were to give concerts in Tel-Aviv, Ramallah and Amman. Zukerman was enthusiastic about what was to be his first performance in an Arab country, and even more excited about the master class that was to be given in Ramallah. But in the Middle East, like in music, timing is everything, and the orchestra landed in Israel just after the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The concert in Tel Aviv was held as planned, in front of a packed audience, but Zukerman learned that given the situation in Ramallah, the master class would not be held. With the collapse of the cease-fire negotiations in Paris, the visit to Jordan was also cancelled, and the orchestra packed up to go home. Niv Fichman and his production company's expertise is in films with musical themes. Among the films screened here have been 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (JFF '94), Yo Yo Ma - Inspired by Bach (JFF '98) and The Red Violin. Here the attempt was to make music the central theme, and to focus on its ability to cross the bridges of hostility and suspicion. The present reality, it seems, is still stronger. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

KURT WEILL

TITLE: KURT WEILL
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Sven Dufer
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: German, English, French and Italian, English subtitles
TIME: 97
SOURCE: Sven Dufer, Dessau Germany
TEXT: Music by Kurt Weill. The well-known Jewish composer Kurt Weill was born in Dessau in 1900. His father was a cantor and his mother had rabbinical roots. After establishing himself with several satirical and surrealistic operas, he became famous with playwright Bertold Brecht through such works as The Three-Penny Opera. With Hitler's rise to power, his works were classified as degenerate. In 1933, Weill left Germany for France, however after a short stay there he emigrated to the US together with actress Lotte Lenya. In the US he was influenced by popular music and jazz, he met several of the outstanding figures of the Broadway stage and began to write musicals that enjoyed tremendous popularity. All the while, he never stopped writing operas and classical music. In 1946, four years before his death, he composed the Jewish prayer "Kiddush," dedicated to his father.
100 years after Kurt Weill's birth, young Dessau-born filmmaker Sven Dufer cinematically reconstructs the biography of this outstanding composer, successfully utilizing archival footage, interviews with individuals who knew him and artists who preformed his compositions: Milva, Blixa Bargeld, Kathrin Angerer, Udo Lindenberg. Among the lesser known facts contained in this film is that Weill's parents emigrated in the 40s to Palestine and he himself visited them here. During his visit he was requested by President Chaim Weizmann to orchestrate "Hatikva". Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

LEV HA'ARETZ / RAMLEH

TITLE: LEV HA'ARETZ / RAMLEH
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Michal Aviad / Michal Aviad, Yulie Gerstel
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 212-925-0606 x360 Email: orders@wmm.com as well as Aviad-Gerstel Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Ramleh follows two years in the lives of Sima and Orly, Svetlana and Jihad. All live in the town of Ramleh, on the old road between Jerusalem and the sea. Sima and Orly, oriental Jewish women, were born in Ramleh. They have recently returned to religion and entered the fold of the Shas Party. Svetlana is a Jew who arrived from Bukhara in Uzbekistan with her two daughters 5 years ago. She is attempting to build an independent life in Ramleh. Jihad, a Muslim Palestinian, was born in Ramleh to a refugee family, finished her law degree and straddles enlightenment and career, and a tradition that does not give her the freedom she seeks. The world of the women is portrayed against the backdrop of the city of Ramleh, inhabited by Jews and Arabs, immigrants and children of immigrants, orthodox and traditional. Between the Israeli general elections of 1999 and 2001, the protagonists live in separate communities and move in non-intersecting circles. What things do Svetlana, Jihad, Sima and Orly have in common and what divides them? What is the role of religion, tradition and nationalism in their lives and how do these reflect and influence their existence as women? Is it possible to understand something more about the complexity of life in present-day Israel through examination of Ramleh and the lives of these women? The transition from Europe to Israel is one of the fundamental traumas in Israeli immigrant culture. Leopold Lahola, author and filmmaker, expressed this trauma in two ways. First, in film, during a period in which Israeli cinema was virtually nonexistent. Second, as a writer who achieved renown in Slovakia. Lahola arrived in Israel in 1949 and attempted to create cinema in Israel and about Israel, then returned to continue his work in Europe. This specific route, Europe-Israel-Europe, after the trauma of the Holocaust, by a filmmaker and writer, is rare and merits attention. When he arrived in Israel, Lahola was regarded as a renowned artist. Tent City (1951) was viewed as his breakthrough in Israel. Despite this, his drama Every Mile a Stone (1955) was coldly received, shelved and subsequently lost. In 1956, Lahola left Israel and returned to Europe. He established himself in Munich. In 1968 he returned to his native Slovakia to direct his last film. The film Lahola focuses upon his cinematic work during the course of the life of this artist who belonged to Israeli culture but who is remembered by no one.
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

MADONNA WITH CHILD. XX CENTURY

TITLE: MADONNA WITH CHILD. XX CENTURY
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Herz Frank
COUNTRY: Israel / Latvia
LANGUAGE: English titles
TIME: 10
SOURCE: Studio FF - Kaupo Filma, Jerusalem-Riga
TEXT: The cruel XX century has marched into the annals of History. This century of two world wars, revolutions and Holocaust... The wounds have closed, but the memory is still painful. The film was shot in the winter of 2001, in the Bikernieki forest on the outskirts of Riga, the capital of Latvia. Here stands a memorial for the victims of the Nazis. Between 1941 and 1944, thousands of citizens of Latvia, Germany and other European countries were executed in this forest and in the neighboring Rumbula forest, just because they were Jews. In Autumn 1944, during the Nazi's hasty retreat, they forced Russian war captives to open the mass graves and to burn all traces of their crimes. But the fire did not consume all of the bodies, not all was turned to ashes. And a picture, shot by an anonymous photographer, remained... I called it Madonna with child. XX Century. They were buried alive, and they remained in an eternal embrace until they died. The film, in my opinion, is not only about the Holocaust, cruelty and violence, but about the human spirit, about unquenchable love. The human body can be destroyed, but the holy soul is immortal." (Herz Frank) Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

MY FIRST SONY

TITLE: MY FIRST SONY
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Uri Barbash / Uri Sabag, Einat Bikel
COUNTRY: ISRAEL
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 100
SOURCE: Paralite, Ltd., Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars: Yoram Hatab, Dafna Rechter, Ran Bechor, Liron Zayid, Annie Aharoni, Ilan Dar, Miriam Zohar, Avi Uriah, Fabiana Meyuhas, Amnon Wolf, Avital Pasternak.
Folded into this epic story of a large and multi-branched Israeli family, is the story of modern Israeli society, including the tension between generations, the culture war between religious and secular, political struggles between left and right and the difficult encounter between veteran Israelis and new immigrants. At the core of the series is the story of the complex relations between Asaf Lazar, his wife Alma and their three children, unwilling participants in the bitter dramas that shake their parents' relations. Asaf, in his forties, comes from a right wing family but abandoned his father's views and joined the moderate left. Alma was born in Argentina and fled during the military dictatorship. She is an architect; he is a playwright and scriptwriter who earns a living as ghost writer, preparing biographies of Holocaust survivors. They are surrounded by numerous fascinating protagonists: parents, brothers, and others whose lives touch theirs. Based upon the successful novel by Benny Barbash, My First Sony, despite its name, is an Israeli dramatic series that could only have been written in and could only take place in Israel, with its slices of local life, its great variety of characters. From the innocent observations of Yotam, Asaf and Alma's 12-year-old son who obsessively recounts the family's story to his video camera, to the sober viewpoint of the series' creators, a humanistic, sparkling, ironic and lively drama is woven. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

KING OF THE RATINGS / MELEH HAREITING

TITLE: KING OF THE RATINGS / MELEH HAREITING
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Doron Zabari / Marek Rozenbaum
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 80
SOURCE: Guerilla Films and Transfax Film Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Anyone wishing to understand the spirit of the times in Israel of the '90s and turn of the 21st century, must consider TV star Dudu Topaz. His program, Harishon Babidur, has led the ratings list for nearly six years straight. He himself symbolizes, for many of his viewers, the essence of the Israeli dream. 66% said that they would vote for him for Prime Minister if he ran. In another survey asking who is the typical Israeli man of the year 2000, he came in first place with 12% (Binyamin Netanyahu took second place with 9% and Ehud Barak third with 7%).
Doron Zabari has accompanied Dudu Topaz over the past five years, during which the latter realized his dream of becoming the most popular man in Israel. Behind the set of his show, through the ups and downs of his relationship with his wife, with friends, with his children, and during his rare moments alone with his personal struggles. With Topaz, one is never certain if it is all just part of a big show that he enjoys not only starring in and directing, but also viewing from the sidelines. This is a funny and sad film about a TV star with no limits, whose love for himself depends entirely upon the audience's love for him, a man who has succeeded in bursting open the spirit of the times and has crowned himself post-modern king. King of the ratings. Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

MADE IN ISRAEL

TITLE: MADE IN ISRAEL
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ari Folman / Anat Assoulin
COUNTRY: Israel, where else did you expect?
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 114
SOURCE: Anat Assoulin Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars: Jorgen Holtz, Menashe Noy, Yevgenia Dodina, Sason Gabai, Dror Keren, Igor Mirkorbanov, Josef El-Dror, Tzahi Grad
Egon Schultz, the last surviving Nazi war criminal, is extradited to Israel from Syria in the framework of the peace agreements between the two countries. Schultz is to be tried in Jerusalem for the transport of Jews from all parts of Europe. Danny Hoffman, a wealthy businessman and son of a Holocaust survivor, places a $2 million bounty on Schultz's head, as indicated in his father's will. There is a catch to Hoffman's contract: the bounty hunters must capture the Nazi at the Golan Heights border crossing and bring him unharmed to the highest mountain in the country where, at the top of the snow-covered peak, Hoffman himself is to shoot the last Nazi. The contract will be void if the Nazi is harmed on the way to the mountain. Made in Israel is a story about the journey of five Israelis: a trumpet player, two payment collectors and a pair of Russian hitmen who unwittingly become Nazi hunters. They wander through the snowy Golan Heights in a heavy fog with the 82 year-old Nazi, caring for him like a baby so as to bring him safe and sound to the top of the mountain. Made in Israel could be the story every Israeli: what would happen if someone offered us $2 million tax free to capture the last Nazi in the world?
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

Additional student films from Israel 2001

TITLE: Additional student films from Israel 2001
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: various
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Most are Hebrew with English ST
WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT I DON'T?
Dir.: Sigalit Lipshitz
W.: Dana Ivgi, Ilanit Dedo-Lanski, Reuven Dayan, Robi Moskovic, Yonatan Rosen
17-year-old, rebellious Sofia, is afraid that she's pregnant. To add to her problems, Gila, her older sister, comes home for the weekend. Each of the sisters does a home-pregnancy test, but the results get mixed up. (19 minutes)
Sam Spiegel School of Film & Television, Jerusalem.

NEWSPAPERS AND FLOWERS
Dir.:Micha Ben Shachar
W.:Arianna Gutman, Oshri Sahar, Yehoshua Banjo
Karmel is searching for love, but as a religious girl, it is not that easy. Therefore, when she meets Miki, the local paperboy, she tries a different way. But can we compromise important principles to gain a little love? (26 minutes)
Ma'aleh School of TV, Film & the Arts, Jerusalem.

DUST
Dir.:Hagit Liron
W.:Michal Dvir, Kiril Cohen, Amnon Wolf
Dolek, Ida's former lover and a successful violinist, arrives from Warsaw to convince her to return with him to Europe. His arrival raises contradictory feelings and desires. She is torn between Israel and the Diaspora, between the choice of love or a life with her partner Jodka. (27 minutes)
Camera Obscura, Tel Aviv.

MINUS-PLUS
Dir.:Shahar Cohen
W.:Shahar Cohen, Yael Zucker
Meir Shaul, a former guitarist and obsessive inventor, is torn between his love for his girlfriend Yael and the war against the electric company who cuts off the electricity in their house. (18 minutes).
Sam Spiegel School of Film & Television, Jerusalem.

DIARY OF A MALE WHORE
Dir.:Tawfik Abu Wael
W.:Taher Mahamed, Sami Habki, Roti Bernstein
Esam, a young Arab war refugee who lives in Tel Aviv, makes his living as a male prostitute. His physical pleasures, that make him forget his hunger, remind him constantly of his childhood memories in his home village. (15 minutes)


OFFSIDE
Dir.:Eliran Knoller, Amir Gilad
W.:Erez Kahana, Liron Levo, Amir Dolitzky
Shahar, a fresh IDF recruit, accidentally shoots a stray bullet and is confined to his base just before the weekend his favorite soccer team plays for the championship. His only comfort is his best friend's promise to call him from the game and "broadcast" live updates. (20 minutes)
Beit Berl College, Kfar Sabba.

FLOOD
Dir.:Guy Nattiv
W.:Itay Shore, Tomer Ben David, Dor Florentin
One weekend, the lives of 13-year-old Yoni and his 17-year-old step-brother, Tomer, change forever. Yoni has his first kiss and his Bar Mitzvah, while Tomer is trapped in eternal childhood. "Noah's Ark", the innocent game that the two played in order to prepare for the Bar Mitzvah, turns into a reality. (28 minutes).
Camera Obscura, Tel Aviv.

FUSES
Dir.:Amit Drori
W.:Shir Eidelson, Tomer Ben David
Adi, a training officer in an airforce course, gets into a conflict with Eran, a soldier who tries to undermine her authority. The conflict gets out of hand and their relationship will not be able to return to how they were. (19 minutes)
Sam Spiegel Film & Television School, Jerusalem.

EICHA
Dir.:Eliezer Shapiro
W.:Hila Gazit, Irit Gidron, Guri Segal
Eicha is a young girl living in a West Bank settlement. Born on Tisha B'av, the annual fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, she is named after the biblical scroll of Lamentations read on that day. Upon reaching the age of 18 she decides to change her name and establish her own identity. (21 minutes)
Ma'ale School of Television, Film and the Arts, Jerusalem.

WAX HURTS
Dir.:Maya Dreifuss
W.:Liat Tamari, Zohar Lotringer, Irit Gidron
You are fifteen. You want to go to the movies and you can't because you must look after your sister. It's annoying. If your sister is 3 years older than you, It's really too much... (23 minutes)
Department of Film & Television, Tel Aviv University.

STEP AND A HALF
Dir.:Ido Har
W.:Yosi Bartal, Rotem Schwartz
13-year-old chubby Meir really likes Naomi. One day during a soccer game on the bench he tries to tell her. (9 minutes)
Sam Spiegel Film & Television School, Jerusalem.

RUSSIAN DANCE
Dir.:Boris Levinzon
W.:Gera Sandler, Tchelet Semel, Oksana Chernishev
Shay is a 28-year-old Russian immigrant to Israel. After 10 years, he looks like an Israeli, feels Israeli, he even has an Israeli girlfriend. But when his parents suddenly inform him that they have decided to return to Russia, Shay starts to see his national and cultural identity differently. (40 minutes)
Department of Film & Television, Tel Aviv University
The above were screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001. Contact the schools for source information


CARAVAN 841

TITLE: CARAVAN 841
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Zion Rubin / Eylon Ratzkovsky, Dana Eden-Donna Productions, Ltd.
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 50
SOURCE: Reshet, Donna Productions, Ltd. Israel
TEXT: Stars: Avi Samnin, Walter Blending, Asher Tzarfati, Yossi Vasa, Shiri Ashkenazi, Ayala Ainghedashedt.
Moshe, an 11-year-old Ethiopian boy, lives in the dwindling "Atidim" caravan site in the Western Galilee and is awaiting the arrival of his mother from Ethiopia. She will not arrive and he is torn between Aharon, a 60-year-old repentant Jew who teaches him Torah, and Walter-an impulsive African American saxophone player who has a jazz club at the edge of the site. Aharon gives Moshe a magic box and promises him that it will bring his mother to Israel. Walter gives Moshe the strength to believe only in himself.
He sat in front of all the members of the Kibbutz and spoke, slowly and with a sure voice. Everyone was enthralled by him, the dining room was full. I looked at him and at them [the Kibbutz members] and was filled with pride. Sami Michael was Iraqi. You see, for an urban Sephardic kid who left home at 14 and went to live as an outsider with youth in an Ashkenazi Kibbutz, who was at a point in his life when he was looking for a hero, Sami Michael was a man who people respected and wanted to be near. Like my hero in the film, Moshe, who adopts Walter the black saxophonist, and starts to create an identity for himself in the midst of an insane environment. (Zion Rubin)
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

IMA VAV / MOTHER V

TITLE: IMA VAV / MOTHER V
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Shachar Rozen / Dana Eden, Eylon Ratzkovsky-Donna Productions, Ltd.
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 52
SOURCE: Reshet and Donna Productions, Ltd. Israel
TEXT: Original music: Shushan. Stars Levana Finkelshtein, Walid Abu Katifan, Misha Asherov, Vladimir Friedman, Evelin Hagoel, Avi Malka, Rawda
Hana Vazana, a religious woman in her 60s, leaves Dimona to visit her son Menahem who is locked up in solitary confinement in Ashkelon, charged with revealing state secrets. She sets out, despite family opposition, to bring her son to apologize to his father who is lying in intensive care. Along the way, fraught with obstacles, she joins up with a Bedouin youth who helps her learn the truth about her son, about herself, and to achieve independence for the first time in her life.
Mother V had several beginnings and several continuations: the film started with a Spanish novel about a woman who goes to visit her son, jailed because he was on the losing side in the Civil War. The film continued with the image of a woman dressed in black upon a freight train in the middle of the desert. The film began with the will to understand people who are prepared to pay any price to be able to look themselves in the eyes without shame. The film continued with a sense that in the picture on the wall there were only "cypresses" and "farmer tilling the soil". However there are stories that have been pushed outside the picture, that even after we tell them we may not look so pretty in the mirror." (Shachar Rozen)
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

SHALOSH ETZBA'OT / THREE FINGERS

TITLE: SHALOSH ETZBA'OT / THREE FINGERS
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Daphna Levin / Shoshi and Udi Soffer
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 51
SOURCE: Reshet, Shoshi and Udi Productions
TEXT: Original music: Adi Cohen. Stars: Dalia Friedland, Arik Lavie, Katia Zimbris
Retired Duvik saws off three of his fingers in his amateur woodworking shop. Ofra, his faithful wife, rushes him to the hospital, but in the emergency room realizes that she left the bag containing the amputated fingers in the car. When she goes to the parking lot to fetch the fingers, she's surprised to see her car driving away. She jumps into a waiting taxi and begins a chase after the fingers with the foul-mouthed driver. An entertaining road movie about couples, marriage and love.
"The heroes of my film, Ofra and Duvik, are drawn from the landscape of my childhood. They could have been my aunt and uncle or my parents' neighbors. They are what I imagine when I hear the expression "salt of the earth." Duvik was probably one of the guys who broke the siege on Jerusalem in '48 and Ofra might have attended nursing school then. I owe this couple something and they touch my soul when they are thrown into the new Israeli world beyond their carefully tended garden. A more violent, faster world in which the traditional roles of "woman", "Arab," "new immigrant," and "Sabra"-have become less clear." (Daphna Levin)
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

BUCHACHI

TITLE: BUCHACHI
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Nati Adler / Galit Benglas, Israel Ringel, Yair Pradelcski
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 52
SOURCE: Reshet and Roll Communications, Israel
TEXT: Original music: Dudu Tasa. Stars: Moshe Folkenflik, Jonathan Rozen, Michael Kait, Shmulik Cohen, Eilat Mancini, Iris Penn, Dudu Tasa
Buchachi, a cook at an airforce base, humbly accepts the military hierarchy that places the pilots at the top of the pyramid. Against the background of a fierce sing-out between the cooks and the pilots during Independence Day celebrations at the base, a new soldier arrives who casts new light on the cooks' status. Buchachi, for the first time in his life, fights for his values.
Lod Airbase, 1990. Buchachi and I would clean the base together, every few weeks, each time that I had duty or that I was punished and sent to do menial jobs. He lives with his father in a shabby apartment at the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv, while I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth in Ramat Hasharon. We went through many ceremonies together, parades. He would arrange the chairs, hang the flags, sweep and clean. During the ceremony, I would take pointless pictures of the pointless military event. And he stands at the end of the parade ground, his uniform filthy from the day's work, not from the dust of battle, ashamed. Buchachi came about because I had a feeling that it was very clear to our society what is central and what is peripheral, who is deserving and who isn't. The choice of Buchachi as the hero of the drama came in order to question, if only a bit, these obvious facts." (Nati Adler)
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

PARTSUF SHEL POKER / POKER FACE

TITLE: PARTSUF SHEL POKER / POKER FACE
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Eitan Anner / Dana Eden, Eylon Ratzkovsky
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 51
SOURCE: Reshet and Donna Productions, Ltd., Israel
TEXT: Original music: Jonathan Bar-Giora. Stars: Sandra Sade, Sasson Gabai, Michael Warshaviak, Shabtai Konorti, Ischak Heskia, Rozina Cambos, Ili Gorlizki
For the past 16 years, every Friday night Anna and Alex and three couples meet for their weekly poker game. Alex is not yet 60, but his memory problems are getting worse and the group decides to vote to decide whether Alex will have to give up his seat at the table. Anna knows that if they lose, Alex will be miserable. She puts on her poker face and goes to war.
"I was seven or eight when I first saw my grandfather playing poker. I entered his workshop and instead of a thin tailor on his knees to take measurements of a client, there was a tall movie star, silent and charming. The worktable was covered with green cloth, all of the lights were on and the air was filled with the tinkling of glasses, the rustle of bills and laughter. Grandfather's friends, who were petty merchants with heavy accents and bald heads on workdays, turned on Friday night into four kings in suits with cufflinks and neckties. In the next room, four queens played rummy. Ben-Yehuda St. in Tel Aviv was the main boulevard of Monaco. Those were people with a great talent for living. I guess I made Poker Face because I miss them." (Eitan Anner)
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

SHOFAR

TITLE: SHOFAR
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Daniel Syrkin / Galit Benglas, Israel Ringel, Yair Pradelcski
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English ST
TIME: 51
SOURCE: Reshet, Roll Communication
TEXT: Original music: Rafi Kadishson. Stars: Shimon Mimran, Orna Fitousi, Daniel Peri Nadav, Igal Sadeh, Avraham Selecter, Raymond Abuksis, Sasi Smouha, Rotem Abuhav, Rami Hezekia.
The Zakutas are a poor family from the slums of Bnei Berak. Amram, a 40-year-old Torah scholar, earns a living writing mezuzot. His wife Yaffa cares for their autistic son Yitzhaq-Shlomo. One afternoon, the boy enters the neighbors' apartment and a miracle occurs. From that moment, a great crowd gathers around the home of the Zakuta family and changes their lives. A story of marriage, belief and parenting in crisis.
When we decided to make Shvarim-Truah we wanted to reflect the hard reality of a couple from a low socio-economic status, struggling to raise an exceptional child. Despite this being a Haredi family, we chose to create the film at a down-to-earth level, without getting caught up in folklore or over-politicization. Haredi society has still not received sufficient attention as a living portion of Israeli society, in which human beings deal with daily problems while struggling with matters of belief and marital problems. Our goal was to present the micro side of family life in this world of belief and religion. (Daniel Syrkin, Dov Alboum)
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

TKIES KHAF / THE VOW

TITLE: TKIES KHAF / THE VOW
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Henryk Szaro
COUNTRY: Poland
LANGUAGE: Yiddish, English ST
TIME: 82
SOURCE: National Center for Jewish Film Sharon Rivo Brandeis University Lown 102, MS 053 Waltham, MA 02454 Ph: (781) 899-7044 Fax: (781) 736-2070 E-mail: rivo@brandeis.edu
TEXT: Music: Iso Sajewicz. Stars: Zygmunt Turkow, Dina Helpern, Kurt Katsch, Maks Bozyk, Mojszesz Lipman, Samuel Landau.
Based on the Vilna Legend. Five years after finishing the Yeshiva in Vilna, Chaim and Mendel meet once again, this time as the birth of their first children approaches. In their joy, they pledge their children to one another. The years pass. Chaim passes away. Ya'akov, Mendel's son, comes to study in Vilna. He and Rachel, Chaim's daughter, fall in love, without knowing a thing about their fathers' vow. But Rachel's older landlord has his eye on her, threatening the joint future of the young couple. Things are further complicated when Ya'akov decides to leave the Yeshiva. Only divine intervention, on the eve of Rachel's wedding to the landlord, will put things right.
Sound familiar? The Vow is based on the same legend as Anski's The Dybbuk. In this case, however, the ending is a happier one. The main thing here is the opportunity to peek into the life of Eastern European Jewry on the eve of the Holocaust. The authentic cinematography from around Poland, the final wedding scene, the use of Jewish music alongside a modern Jazz soundtrack, the conflict between tradition and modernity - all of these subconsciously turn the film into a valuable document of a world that is no longer. The cast is headed by Dina Halpern, who would later become the grande dame of the Yiddish theater, and the soundtrack is a combination of Hassidic songs, popular music and Yiddish love songs.
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

STRUMA

TITLE: STRUMA
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Radu Gabrea / Andrei Gruzsnicky
COUNTRY: Romania
LANGUAGE: Romanian and English, English ST
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Intact Advertising S.A., Bucharest
TEXT: The Struma disaster is one of the tragic episodes in the Holocaust of Romanian Jewry. Trying to escape the Nazis and the persecution of the Antonescu regime, many Romanian Jews attempted to flee to Palestine. The Struma, an unseaworthy craft constructed in Britain in 1867 (Greek owned with a Bulgarian crew, and flying the Panamanian flag), anchored in the port of Constantza in December 1941. There, 769 Jews who had paid large sums of money to carry them to safety boarded. Upon the ship's arrival at the port of Istanbul, the Turks, under Nazi pressure, denied the refugees entry to its territory. The British refused to issue entry visas for Palestine, and Romania would not allow the ship to return. The Struma was towed to the center of the Black Sea and on February 24th, 1942, sunk taking all but one of its passengers with it, after being hit by a torpedo, apparently fired by a Russian submarine. This film, the first Romanian telling of this story, utilizes documents and testimonies (including that of David Stoliar, sole survivor of the disaster) and a fine script by Romanian writer and journalist Stelian Tanase. Director Radu Gabrea, one of the outstanding talents of Romanian film in the '70s, emigrated to Germany in 1974 where he directed several films, and returned to Romania 15 years later to continue his work.
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

RUSSKAJA PALESTINA / RUSSIAN PALESTINE

TITLE: RUSSKAJA PALESTINA / RUSSIAN PALESTINE
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Alexandr Rekhviashvili / Vladylan Arsenyev, Igor Bortnikov
COUNTRY: Russia
LANGUAGE: Russian, English ST
TIME: 52
SOURCE: NTV Series - AMA, Moscow
TEXT: Over 6,000,000 Jews lived throughout the Russian Empire prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, most in the Ukraine and White Russia. Moving pictures were first made there as early as 1896 and feature films from 1908 on. The first part of Russian Palestine is based upon footage filmed in Czarist Russia depicting the daily life, culture and religion of the empire's Jews-citizens who had minimal contact with the surrounding non-Jewish population. The second part of the film dates to World War I and the Revolution and shows some of the Jews who participated in the downfall of the Czarist tyranny-Leon Trotsky, Jacob Sverdlov, Grigory Sinoviev, Leon Kamenev and many others. Documentary films of the 1920s show the Jewish Revolutionary giving up old traditions for Internationalism and Bolshevik values. During the 1930s, Jewish involvement in Soviet life gradually decreased, as did the number of films concerning Jewish themes. World War II, with increasing Jewish involvement in the anti-fascist effort, again brought interest in Jewish life but with the end of the war, Stalin and his associates brought back the repression of Jewish culture.
Alexandr Rekhviashvili, a veteran Russian filmmaker who began to work in the early 1970s, attempts to preserve an image of Jewish life in Russia during the first half of the 20th century. Russian Palestine is based upon rare footage from newsreels and films gathered from the archives of the former Soviet Union.
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

THE STRUMA

TITLE: THE STRUMA
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Simcha Jacobovici / Jack Rabinovitch, Pauline Duffy, Simcha Jacobovici, and Felix Golubev
COUNTRY: United Kingdom UK / Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Associated Producers, Toronto (see website)
TEXT: Music: David Wall. Documentary. In December 1941, the Struma, a converted "gentleman's yacht" carrying 769 Romanian Jews, departed the Black Sea coastal city of Constanta destined for British-controlled Palestine. Sputtering toward the Bosphorus Straight, the Struma's tired engine failed only a few days into the journey. The boat was pulled into Istanbul harbor, where it would sit for the next two months. Fleeing Ion Antonescu's brutal Nazi-controlled regime, the refugees found themselves in a realpolitik minefield involving Britain, Germany, Turkey and the Soviet Union. On February 23, 1942, Turkish police took control of The Struma - its passengers haggard from the terrible conditions on board - and towed it into the Black Sea. Within 24 hours the ship was torpedoed. Only ONE person survived.
Following British diver Greg Buxton's attempts to locate the wreck on which his grandparents perished, Simcha Jacobovici's engaging documentary delves into the mystery surrounding the sinking of The Struma. There is remarkable drama and intrigue here, as Buxton's present-day quest begins to mirror the labyrinthine political conditions which led to this tragedy. As Buxton barters with locals for the coordinates of "the Jew ship," a Turkish dive club - claiming to have found the wreck - lobbies government officials to halt the rival diver's search.
Meanwhile, Jacobovici unfurls the political backdrop: British sabotage, geopolitics in the Palestinian protectorate, a stalled German-Turkish chromium trade deal, a secret war in the Black Sea and deadly Soviet subs.
Also a compelling human drama, Buxton and Jacobovici's personal stakes in this investigation are heightened by the incredible survival story of David Stoliar. Now 79 years old, he gives a first-hand account of his father's efforts to secure the nineteen-year-old Italian his passage on the ship, of the harrowing two months on board "isolated from the world" and of the fateful blast which propelled him into the Black Sea and eventually to rescue. "Why you?" he has been asked by those who lost family members. It's a question for which he still has no answer. (Sean Farnel). Simcha Jacobovici was born in 1953. He studied philosophy and political science at McGill University and international relations at the University of Toronto. His tenacious and courageous films have won a number of international awards: Deadly Currents (91) won the Genie award for best feature length documentary; Quest for the Lost Tribes (99) was nominated in the same category. Other films include: Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews (83), Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies, and the American Dream (98) and The Struma (01).
Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, September, 2001

Izzy Greenberg, writing in The Jerusalem Post, adds: "In the early morning hours of February 24, 1942, David Stoliar found himself hurtling through the air, shaken violently from his sleep below deck by the explosion of a submarine torpedo. Flailing in the freezing waters of the Black Sea, he managed to grab hold of a piece of debris among the splinters that remained of the ship. He floated along with the few dozen survivors who remained of the 769 Jewish refugees aboard the Struma attempting to make their way from Eastern Europe to British-controlled Palestine.
After spending the night in frigid waters, the screams and cries of his fellow passengers having long subsided, Stoliar was left alone at the brink of certain death. Only his swollen, numb fingers prevented him from using a pocketknife to end his misery and save himself a painful drowning.
Stoliar, the sole survivor of the ship's passengers, should not have outlived the other refugees on the Romanian vessel. If the torpedo had not gotten him, the sea should have, or he should have died of hypothermia after spending 24 hours in the Black Sea with chunks of ice floating around him. It is inexplicable that he survived. Greg Buxton also should not be there. His grandparents, whose name was Bucspan, were on the Struma, and had they not sent their son, Greg's father, ahead of them, he would have died with them. But there is the proud grandson, a hard-nosed, good-natured British diver on a personal mission, leading the expedition that hunts for the Struma in Jacobovici's film, trying to help solve the mystery and honor his grandparents' memory. And as for Jacobovici, the filmmaker himself, it turns out that he, too, has a part to play in the unfolding saga. He was born in Israel to Romanian Holocaust survivors, and most of his family was lost in the Holocaust. His father was left for dead in the police courtyard in Iasi, the capital of Moldova, with thousands of other bodies. Miraculously, his heart was in contraction when the bullet passed through his chest cavity; he was literally a heartbeat away from death. After being sewn up in a friend's kitchen, he eventually headed towards Palestine aboard a Romanian ship, which was diverted, like the Struma but less tragically, landing him in a refugee camp in Cyprus before making it to Israel.
Three elements come together as a multilayered tapestry that is skillfully woven by Jacobovici. The survivor's sentiments (how it happened), the diver's exploration (where it happened) and the filmmaker's burrowing investigation (why it happened and who did it) intersect and interact to create a film that is both historically sentimental and immediately gripping.
"I didn't know from the beginning how to weave them in such a way that you could go seamlessly from one to the other, and that each segment pushed forward the other segment so that it's not like 'meanwhile, back at the farm.' You don't know exactly how they fit," admits Jacobovici, "but they fit."
The story is not well known. Romania is a difficult subject because the country was not occupied. It was an ally of Nazi Germany, but then switched sides towards the end of the war. Even Israelis are mostly unaware of the significance of those tens of thousands of wartime refugees, known as ma'apilim, who attempted to immigrate illegally into Palestine. Despite the personal and historical meaning, Jacobovici was wary of making just another historical Holocaust film. "I didn't have a contemporary story on which to hang my historical story. The kind of filmmaking I am involved in is not illustrated lectures. So really, on the one hand I wanted to do something, and on the other hand I didn't have a vehicle with which to do it."
The vehicle arrived in the form of an e-mail in March 2000 from a group of Romanian-Jewish expatriates living in France who, for some reason, adopted Jacobovici into their circle. "They ran out of Romanian Jews, I guess," Jacobovici jokingly suggests. They sent him a copy of a correspondence with Buxton, the diver, who was planning an expedition to find the Struma. Jacobovici was already familiar with the Struma story, which was legendary in Romanian circles because practically every Romanian Jew knew someone who was on the ship.
"When I heard that the grandson of two people who were on the Struma was a diver who was looking for his grandparents' grave to mark it, I thought, wow, this is the story I've been waiting for," Jacobovici recalled.
Within 24 hours, Jacobovici managed to convince HBO and History Television Canada to back the project (Channel 4 in the UK later joined as well). Four months later he found himself on the Black Sea with Buxton, using state-of-the-art sonar detection and classic investigative tactics to look for a lost ship, and a lost piece of history.
THE Struma's voyage was originally scheduled to last one week, but its hodgepodge mechanics gave out after three days, leaving the ship and its crowded passengers drifting in the Bosporus, off the coast of Turkey. When a Turkish tugboat towed the ship into Istanbul, it seemed as if the people were finally saved, landing just a few days' journey from Palestine. However, the Turks were afraid of jeopardizing their neutral position in the war. They denied assistance to the ship and its passengers, and left the ship quarantined in the Istanbul harbor with all the passengers on board, except for nine who were allowed to leave for medical and diplomatic reasons. The British were scared of throwing off the delicate population balance in Palestine and upsetting the Arab nations and their oil, and refused to grant visas to the Struma's passengers to enter Palestine. The Germans were watching, too, because they were worried that Turkey would become a highway for Jewish refugees fleeing Europe. The Russians were suspicious that neutral shipping was being used to supply the German war effort with chromium. All this put pressure on the Turks to keep the people on the Struma out. Eventually, the solution was to tow the broken vessel out to the Black Sea, making it someone else's problem.
Even today Turkey continues to protect its neutral image, especially at a time when it is being considered for EU membership, so the subject of the Struma remains covered up. The documents are classified, no government official will talk about it, and the Turkish government puts up every obstacle it can conceive of to stop the team from finding the right site. It even went so far as to arrest Buxton's dive team and their local contacts for illegal diving just as they were getting close to finding the Struma, releasing them only after the international media caught wind of the story.
"It's a whodunit," says the filmmaker. "Was it the Germans? Was it the Russians? Was it by mistake? Did they do it on purpose? Why did they tow? Why didn't they tow? Why didn't they give them visas? Was MI6 involved? Did they want to sink it? Did they want to sabotage it? Who done it, and why?" The lesson of the Struma, as alluded to at the end of Jacobovici's film, is that sometimes even your so-called allies kill you. Beyond merely being a symbol of the prevailing indifference to the genocide of the Holocaust, the tragic sinking of the Struma is a situation in which both allied and enemy countries conspired, maybe not consciously and not together, but in fact, to sink this boat. Germany, Romania, Turkey, Russia, Britain... they were all fighting a war, but at the same time they all agreed, each with their own intentions, that they had to stop this boat, because, for whatever reason, there was no room for these Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

KRAJINKA / LANDSCAPE

TITLE: KRAJINKA / LANDSCAPE
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Martin Sulik / Rudolf Biermann
COUNTRY: Slovak Republic
LANGUAGE: Slovakian, English ST
TIME: 110
SOURCE: Charlie's Ltd., Bratislava www.krajinka.sk
TEXT: Stars: Juraj Paulen, Ivan Gontko, Jana Segesova, Anton Vaculik, Vilma Cibulkova
A small village in Eastern Europe, from the Nazi tyranny of WWII to the Soviet invasion. Dr. Roth, a Jewish physician, saves an infant from death. A young map-making soldier finds momentary solace in the arms of a lascivious widow only to find out that he is not her only lover. A vagabond caught in an outhouse is saved by St. Christopher. A lecherous tailor pays the price for his harassment. Two old ladies sadly reflect on their lives. These are some of the stories and vignettes from the life of this Slovakian village.
Martin Sulik has been marked in the last decade as one of the leading filmmakers in Eastern Europe. Landscape, his new film, presents vignettes from his country, weaving together no less than 80 speaking parts and creating smooth transitions between different eras and ambiences. Short cuts from a white spot on the map, where nothing earth-shattering has ever happened. Sulik moves his characters, simple and seemingly insignificant people, from the horrors of war to the glory of hope, and together they create a song of praise for the human spirit. It is at once a fable and a lesson in history. Despite the horrors, the characters are never portrayed as miserable, and they are always seen through the prism of the typically black, absurd Central European humor.

UNCLE SADDAM

TITLE: UNCLE SADDAM
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Joel Soler
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 63
SOURCE: Rive Gauche
TEXT: A documentary. Uncle Saddam gets up each morning at five and takes care of his personal hygiene. Every man, he says, must wash at least once a day (if not twice). The woman, because of her delicacy, must bathe twice. "It is not appropriate for someone to attend a gathering or to be with his children with his body odor trailing behind him," says the man who sent you to the sealed room.
Joel Soler, a French TV personality who moved to California several years ago, presents a satirical portrait of Saddam Hussein. Since the film was first screened at the end of 2000, Soler has been forced to go into hiding and has turned into a marked man. Uncle Saddam does not even pretend to be serious investigative journalism. Instead-through entertaining narration, interviews, archival footage, material filmed through Soler's initiative and smuggled out of Iraq, etc.-we are presented a film about the leader who has held the Middle East by the neck for over two decades. This is an attempt to penetrate the elements of the Iraqi leader's personality and worldview-a work as fascinating as it is hilarious. The film examines Saddam's dynasty, it looks at his personality cult, the architecture of public buildings he has erected, and more. The film is dedicated to the children hospitalized in the Saddam Hussein Hospital.
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

SHAMA / YONDER

TITLE: SHAMA / YONDER
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Yael hersonski
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Polish and Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 52
SOURCE: Sam Spiegel School for Film & Television, Jerusalem.
TEXT: Sam Spiegel School for Film & Television, Jerusalem. A co-production with the Lodz Film School.
A documentary. Only on the day my grandfather died did I learn that he and my grandmother had worked in the Communist propaganda film industry in Poland after the war. I was already a film student. An hour before the funeral, I found an old photo of him with my grandmother and a movie camera on a tripod next to them, at the level of their heads, like a third person. I had always imagined that I was the granddaughter of a coal-miner. As for my grandmother, I had never given much thought to her life in Poland after Auschwitz. I don't know why.
In that photograph, my grandparents' lives suddenly became mysterious and painfully imperceptible. I suddenly found myself imagining myself there, in the time warp I had rediscovered: what if they had remained in Poland, continued to work in film, my mother had grown up there, and eventually I had also emerged in a Polish delivery room? I imagined myself as a film student at the Lodz Film School-watching archival footage produced by my grandparents. Half a year later I traveled to Poland, to examine the possibility of sketching a false autobiography, a sort of alternate life story based on the memories of those who "could" have been me. This attempt renewed the delimitation of my true life, vis-a-vis that of my grandmother, and returned me to the real place-home.
Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

TITLE:
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

TITLE:
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Seen at the Jerusalem Film Festival, July 12-21, 2001

Last Wedding

TITLE: Last Wedding
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Bruce Sweeney / G. D. Sweeney, Stephen Hegyes
COUNTRY: CANADA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 100 minutes 35mm
SOURCE: contact Toronto Fest
TEXT: Principal Cast: Benjamin Ratner, Frida Betrani, Tom Scholte, Nancy Sivak, Vincent Gale, Molly Parker. Bruce Sweeney's ambitious and dazzlingly inventive film about a trio of Vancouver thirtysomething couples is a wry and witty look at contemporary relationships. Directing his cast with supreme assurance, Sweeney negotiates the dangerous terrain of people trying to get a handle on their lives whilst dealing with all the temptations of modern life. The film is at once a robust satire and an honest look at the peculiar entity we call "the modern romance." Working with his regular team of actors, and adding rising star Molly Parker to the mix, allows Sweeney to showcase his strengths, for Last Wedding is a penetrating and immensely energetic film.
Two of the couples in the film are happily partnered while the third walks into a marital disaster. After six months of dating, Noah (Benjamin Ratner) and Zipporah (Frida Betrani) shock everyone by announcing that they are going to get married. Neither their friends nor their families are excited by the upcoming nuptials. Friends Peter (Tom Scholte) and Shane (Vincent Gale) offer lukewarm congratulations but find themselves looking over their shoulders as their relationships begin to show signs of strain.
What one notices first about Last Wedding is the ambitious approach to the material that Sweeney and his cast have chosen to take. Telling the stories of six people requires immense creative skill, but perhaps this very talented filmmaker's most notable achievement is his ability to balance diverse moods and tones. As the film moves from comedy to drama and finally to farce, Sweeney proves a master at handling several different emotional colours. Not only does he bring us close to the dilemmas that his characters face, but he also adroitly paints an instantly recognizable portrait of contemporary life. Last Wedding confirms that Bruce Sweeney is one of the most distinctive filmmakers at work in Canada today.

Sidewalks of New York

TITLE: Sidewalks of New York
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Edward Burns / Margot Bridger, Edward Burns, Cathy Schulman, Rick Yorn
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 107 in 35mm
SOURCE: Malboro Road Gang/Artists Production Group
TEXT: Principal Cast: Edward Burns, Rosario Dawson, Heather Graham, Stanley Tucci, David Krumholtz, Dennis Farina, Brittany Murphy.
A tale of mismatched couples and star-crossed lovers in the Manhattan tradition of Woody Allen, Sidewalks of New York is the latest romantic comedy from writer-directoractor-producer Edward Burns. Utilizing a faux-documentary style reminiscent of Allen's Husbands and Wives, Burns follows the (primarily sex) lives of a group of New Yorkers who talk candidly to the camera while searching for love and fulfillment.
Tommy (Burns) is a television producer who has just been kicked out of his apartment by his girlfriend. Staying with his boss (Dennis Farina) while looking for a new place, Tommy meets Maria (Rosario Dawson), a recently divorced sixth-grade teacher from Staten Island. There are definitely some sparks between Tommy and Maria, who meet in a video store and argue coyly over a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's. But Maria is still on the rebound from her marriage to Benjamin (David Krumholtz). A struggling musician and self-proclaimed "good Jewish kid" from Brooklyn, Benjamin originally pushed for the divorce, but his new bachelor lifestyle is starting to make him think that the grass may have been greener on the married side of life.
After an encounter with Tommy makes Benjamin think twice about showing up at Maria's apartment to try winning her back, he soon grows infatuated with Ashley (Brittany Murphy), an effervescent diner waitress from Iowa. Ashley and Benjamin seem to be kindred spirits, but Ashley is involved in a clandestine affair with Griffin (Stanley Tucci, in a fine performance), a middle-aged, twice-married dentist whose current wife, Annie (Heather Graham), is becoming increasingly suspicious of his all-too-regular trips to the gym.
The film's structure - with its interweaving of characters and juxtaposition of themes - serves as an appropriate device for its depiction of the insular nature of the New York lifestyle (the fact that none of the characters has the slightest idea where Iowa is serves as a running gag). Shot mostly with hand-held cameras in the streets, parks, brownstones and coffee shops of New York, the film has a whimsical, improvisational tone and a brisk, breezy sensibility that suggests an autumn afternoon in Manhattan. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2001

EDEN

TITLE: EDEN
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Amos Gitai / Regine Konckier, Jean-Luc Ormières, Amos Gitaï
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 91 in 35mm
SOURCE:
TEXT: Based on the novel "Homely Girl" by Arthur Miller. Music: Ihab Nimer, Gustav Mahler. Principal Cast: Samantha Morton, Thomas Jane, Danny Huston, Luke Holland, Daphna Kastner, Arthur Miller
For his first English-language film, Amos Gitaï has chosen to adapt an Arthur Miller novel (he has also managed to persuade Miller to play one of the key roles). There is no question that this film will prove to be as controversial as his remarkable Kadosh, for it takes a hard and calculating look at some of the values that informed the founding of the modern Israeli state. In the context of today's events in the region, it is hard to imagine that Eden will not rub certain people the wrong way.
The film begins in 1939. Kalman, a young, determined and ambitious Jewish entrepreneur, decides to leave his ailing father and go to Palestine to join his sister Samantha, whom he hasn't seen for years. Though the father admires his daughter's idealism, he warns his son about the dangers of the region. Undeterred, Kalman sets out to join Samantha and finds her living with Dov, a similarly idealistic young architect who is totally absorbed in the work of Walter Gropius. In her spare time, Samantha assists the brilliant professor Oscar Kalkofsky, whose thoughts on an Israeli nation are couched in terms of a collaboration with the Arabs, with whom the Jews share the land. Then there is the headstrong Sylvia, a young woman who sees the future in slightly different terms.
Within these five characters reside very different views on the future of an independent Israel. When war erupts in Europe, illegal immigrants are rounded up by the British police and the Jewish Brigade is formed as part of the British Army to fight the Germans. Aided immeasurably by Mahler's most majestic and uplifting music, Gitaï forces us to reflect on the meaning of the film's title and the origins of modern Israel: Where will all this lead and, more importantly, why was Israel founded and under what values? Eden is both thought-provoking and powerful, leading inexorably towards a denouement of great emotion that carries heartbreaking implications. Gitaï's stature continues to grow with every film.
Amos Gitaï was born in Haifa, Israel in 1950. He studied architecture at the Haifa Technion and the University of California at Berkeley, and has been a prolific director of award-winning documentaries and features since the seventies. Selected filmography: Field Diary (82), Brand New Day (87), Berlin Jerusalem (89), Yom Yom (98), Kadosh (99), Kippur (00) and Eden (01). Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2001

Kissing Jessica Stein

TITLE: Kissing Jessica Stein
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld / Eden Wurmfeld, Brad Zions
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 94
SOURCE: Zions Films/Eden H. Wurmfeld/Cineric/Michael Alden Productions OR Jennifer Mattingly Fox Searchlight Pictures 10201 West Pico Blvd., Building 38, Rm 206 Los Angeles, CA 90025 phone: 310 369 2078 fax: 310 369 4422 Email: jenniferma@fox.com www.foxsearchlight.com
TEXT: Principal Cast: Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather Juergensen, Scott Cohen, Tovah Feldshuh, Jackie Hoffman
Kissing Jessica Stein, based on the play "Lipschtick" by Heather Juergensen and Jennifer Westfeldt, is a vigorous, renovated look at the life of the single girl in New York City. Drawing its energy from the worlds of big city publishing, Jewish families and dating in the new millennium, the film is a saucy, riotously funny comedy.
Includes a Jewish wedding, and a momentous Shabbat dinner
High-strung and unhappily single, Jessica Stein (Westfeldt) works in a busy publishing house with her pregnant best friend Joan (Jackie Hoffman at her super best) and her quarrelsome ex-boyfriend and boss, Josh (Scott Cohen). After a disastrous but laughable dating spree, Jessica resorts to the personals, where she reads an intriguing ad quoting Rainer Maria Rilke and she decides to respond - the catch is that the ad is in the "Women Seeking Women" column. Even though she is decidedly straight, Jessica goes out on a limb and winds up on a date with a spirited, stylish art gallery manager named Helen Cooper (Juergensen). The two women click instantly and discover that they have more in common than either had expected.
In spite of her mother's apprehensions and derogatory comments from Josh and Joan, Jessica and Helen waver on the border between friendship and romance. With conventional gender roles absent, they are forced to improvise everything throughout their would-be courtship, with results that are endearing, revealing and hilarious. However, when all parties meet prior to her brother's wedding, Jessica has to decide what their relationship means once and for all.
Crisp direction by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld and spry editing by Kristy Jacobs Maslin and Gregory Tillman accentuate the script's boisterous humor. The supporting cast, especially Hoffman, Cohen and Tovah Feldshuh as Jessica's overprotective mother, bring generous amounts of spirit and poignancy to their parts. Westfeldt (who is younger version of Diane Keaton) and Juergensen also starred as Jessica and Helen on stage and resuming their successful roles for the film evidently proved an easy step: The actors are familiar and comfortable with the dynamics between their characters and their performances lend a great deal of realism to a sublimely funny tale.
Charles Herman-Wurmfeld made his feature debut with Fanci's Persuasion in 1995. His second feature, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) won the Audience Award for best feature at the 2001 Los Angeles Film Festival. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2001. To be released in the USA in theaters in March 2002.

Taking Sides

TITLE: Taking Sides
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Istvan Szabo / Rainer Mockert, Yves Pasquier
COUNTRY: Deutschland Germany
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 105 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE: Little Big Bear Film Production/Maelenas/Paladin Production/Studio Babelsberg
TEXT: Stars: Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgård, Moritz Bleibtreu, Birgit Minichmayr, Oleg Tabakov
Master filmmaker István Szabó turns again to the Second World War for his subject matter, producing a film that, like its predecessor Sunshine, is both deeply moving and dramatically effective. Wilhelm Furtwängler was a controversial figure. One of the most spectacular and renowned conductors of the thirties, his reputation rivalled that of Toscanini's. As music director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, he held a position of immense stature in the cultural life of Germany. When Hitler came to power, Furtwängler stayed on. While he attempted to avoid any association with the Nazi regime, it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain this distance. After the war, he was investigated as part of the Allies' de-Nazification programme.
Szabó sets his film in the bombed-out Berlin of the immediate post-war period. The city is in a shambles, but the Allies are slowly bringing law and order - and justice - to bear on an occupied Germany. An American major is given the Furtwängler file, told to find everything he can and to prosecute the man ruthlessly. Tough and hard-nosed, yet considerate and kind to his assistants, major Steve Arnold sets out to investigate a world of which he knows nothing, except that the Nazis were guilty of terrible crimes against the Jews. Orchestra members vouch for Furtwängler's morality - he refused to shake Hitler's hand and, more importantly, helped Jewish players banished from the orchestra. To the Germans, deeply respectful of their musical heritage, Furtwängler was a demigod; to Arnold he is just a lying, weak-willed Nazi.
The film's intense power centres around a series of interviews and cross-examinations which Arnold conducts with Furtwängler in his office. Keitel and Skarsgård parry and respond, two cultures meeting in the post-war chaos where one hides behind his art and the other attacks the naiveté of this position. The two actors are simply magnificent, the script is hypnotically compelling, and the film examines with great subtlety the different moral and ethical positions taken by victor and vanquished.
István Szabó was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1938 and graduated from the Budapest Film School in 1961. Throughout his prolific career as a filmmaker, he has won over 60 major international awards, including an Academy Award(r) for best foreign film for Mephisto (81). Selected filmography: Age of Illusions (64), Father (66), Love Film (70), Budapest Tales (76), Confidence (79), Hanussen (88), Meeting Venus (91), Offenbach's Secret (96), Steadying the Boat (96), Sunshine (99) and Taking Sides (01). Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2001

LATE MARRIAGE / Hatouna Mehuheret

TITLE: Late Marriage
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Dover Kosashvili / Udi Yerushalmy, Marek Rozenbaum, Edgard Tenembaum
COUNTRY: Israel / France
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 100 in 35mm
SOURCE: For USA: ryan Werner magnolia pictures 115 west 27th street, 8th floor new york, ny  10001 (212) 924-6701  phone (212) 924-6742  fax www.magpictures.com For Israel: Transfax Film Production/Morgane Production
TEXT: Music: Joseph Bardanashvili. Principal Cast: Lior Louie Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Kosashvili (the director’s mother), Aya Steinovits Laor.
Late Marriage is a searing portrait of rigid cultural traditions and the tyrannical control they can exert over matters of the heart. Tragic and funny in equal parts, the film marks a highly impressive launch to director Dover Kosashvili's feature filmmaking career.
Handsome and intelligent, Zaza is working on his doctorate in philosophy in Tel Aviv. Yasha and Lili proudly consider their son an excellent catch, so they find it disconcerting that Zaza is still not married at 31. To have a son over 30 who is not married is a disgrace to the family. He humors his parents as they expound on the need for him to marry a young virgin and suffers as they take him to meet one "suitable" girl after another. But he is uninterested: In brazen disregard of his parents' strict Georgian tradition, Zaza is in love with the smoulderingly beautiful Judith, a 34-year-old Moroccan divorcee. The situation is a disaster in the eyes of Zaza's family and is made all the worse by the fact that Judith has a six-year-old daughter.
The film delineates the wrenching confrontation between love and familial duty and all the ugliness and desperation that arise from dogmatic adherence to tradition. In one particularly jarring scene, Zaza's extended family storms into Judith's apartment intending to force him to denounce the woman he loves. Yet the mood is not entirely oppressive; on the contrary, Late Marriage is an energetic and lively film, the result of dynamic scripting, editing and art direction. Ebullient moments follow fast on the heels of the most ferocious, deflating scenes, while excellent performances draw us in among the divided loyalties of a family at war with itself, making us laugh even as we cringe.
Late Marriage's spirit is robust throughout; its aesthetic restrained and modern. This is a film with a lot of heart and a lot on the line, a taut and honest exploration of cultural and familial obligations that demands to be seen.
Dover Kosashvili was born in the Republic of Georgia in 1968 and has lived in Israel since 1972. He studied philosophy and cinema at Tel Aviv University. His short graduation film, With Rules (99), received several international prizes including Best Short Film at the Jerusalem film festival and second prize at Cannes Cinéfondation. Late Marriage (01) is his first feature film as writer-director. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2001. The hottest film for Jewish Fests in 2002. Also shown at New Directors Fest at Moma in NYC in April 2002. Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander; Best Screenplay, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greece, 2001 Wolgin Award, Best Feature, Jerusalem International Film Festival, 2001 Best Picture; Best Director; Best Screenplay; Best Actor (Lior Louie Ashkenazi); Best Actress (Ronit Elkabetz); Best Supporting Actor (Moni Moshonov); Best Supporting Actress (Lilli Kosashvilli); Best Editing; Best Sound, Israeli Academy Awards, 2001

Chupa: The Wedding Canopy

TITLE: Chupa: The Wedding Canopy
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Laurie Zemelman Schneider & Sascha Schneider
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 80
SOURCE:
TEXT: Laurie Zemelman Schneider & Sascha Schneider, dirs. 80min. At once a formidable tale of survival, a touching love story and an enduring family saga, "Chuppa" is an original documentary about the wedding of a Jewish couple fifty years after they met and got engaged. This truly uplifting film celebrates one family's struggle to move beyond the pain of the Holocaust. (Best Feature Documentary - Santa Barbara Film Festival) In November 1942, in the Latvian ghetto of Riga there was no time to celebrate a wedding. So Helma and Benno Schneider remained unmarried, but vowed, that should they survive the Nazi reign of terror they would someday meet under the Chuppah, the traditional Jewish wedding canopy. That love sustained them through the horrific prison camps and a daring escape to the woods of Latvia. For Helma and Benno, the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust, the fiftieth anniversary of their vow became their proper wedding day. And their son, prize-winning filmmaker Sascha Schneider, records the story in this GEO Film Documentary, " The Chuppah". "The Chuppah" traces two themes: the story of Helma and Benno, and the problems facing the members of the " Second Generation" of survivors. Photos and footage of the Riga ghetto and camps are invervowed with interviews with the couple and their family, as sons and daughters-in-law relate what it means to grow up as children of holocaust survivors. The final sequence follows Helma and Benno, who made their home in America in 1953, as they return once more to Germany. But this is not merely a "happy-ending" story. While watching Helma and Benno's life-long promise finally fulfilled, viewers will also become sensitized to the emotional problems that survivors and their descendants must deal with. Just as importantly, "The Chuppah" addresses an issue that has become painfully topical again, as xenophobia and racial fanaticism flare up anew.
UFA FILM-UND FERSEH-GMBH
HERRENGRABEN 3
20459 Hamburg
phone: 49 40/ 376 77 170
fax: 49 40/ 376 77 175

RAM DASS FIERCE GRACE

TITLE: Ram Das Fierce Grace
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Mickey Lemie
COUNTRY: USA BR> LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 93
SOURCE: Contact Hamptons Intnl Film Festival
TEXT: Mickey Lemie is a filmmaker, Brandeis grad and Peace Corps grad (Nepal). Ram Dass was born in 1931, his name was Richard Alpert. He becmae a leader in the new age spirituality movement, and suffered a stroke in 1997. His friend, Mickey Lemie, has made this documentary about the life of Ram Dass, his drug usage with Wavy Gravy and Timothy Leary, his spiritual awakening in India with guru Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji), and the publication in 1971 of "Be Here Now". Seen at the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 2001

SUMMER IN IVYE

TITLE: SUMMER IN IVYE
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Tamar Rogoff and Daisy Wright (NYU) / Lori Cheatle and Tamar Rogoff
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 72
SOURCE: Contact Hamptons Intnl Film Festival
TEXT: An actor stands at the edge of a forest wwhere 2,500 Jews were murdered during WW II. He says, "I beg you not to enter yet - I want to make sure your hearts are OPEN." In present day Belarus, this film chronicles New York based choreographer Tamar Rogoff's invocation of the almost forgotten, the vibrant Jewish community of IVYE before it's destruction in May 1942. Rogoff, who lost 29 relatives in the massacres, took a theatre crew to the village and, with local citizens, staged a production in the woods. Eight different languages and a dearth of translators forced the players to communicate directly, eliciting powerful performances. It is memorial and exorcism and more. Seen at the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 2001

EDGES OF THE LORD

TITLE: EDGES OF THE LORD
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Yurek Bogayevicz / Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Zev Braun, Philip Krupp, Avi Lerner
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 98
SOURCE: contact Hamptons Intnl Film Festival
TEXT: Stars Haley Joel Osment, Willem Dafoe, Liam Hess, Richard Banel. The games children play, the stories they make up, and the things they do to each other are anything but innocent. They are attempts to make sense of a world that can be beautiful and baffling. EDGES OF THE LORD, set in an idyllic country village in Poland in 1943, is a deceptively picturesque fable of good and evil that views the horros of time through the prism of the coming of age story. Haley Joel Osment is Romek, 12 years of age, a Jewish boy from Krakow, hiding with a Catholic family. The other children in the village don't know whether to treat Romek as a new friend or as a rival. In catechism class, taught by the local priest (Dafoe), Romek meets Maria, a 13 year old romantic interest. What unfolds is a cruel and sweet, real and magical story of revenge, murder, and betrayal with religious overtones in a lush landscape. Seen at the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 2001

TITLE:
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Seen at the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 2001

TITLE:
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY:
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Seen at the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 2001

Becoming Irish Lee Madsen, dir. 36min. A thrill rides comedy about two roommates living in Los Angeles. Ben our nice Jewish boy and Steprak the illegal Armenian alien. We explore our Jewish boys mind through his twist and turns of life coming to a self-realization on becoming Irish.

Camels of Nahor: Igal Hecht, dir. 45 min. "Camels of Nahor" is the story of Aryeh Cohen, a secular Jew, and Hadasa Green, the daughter of a Rabbi. The two embark on a relationship ignited by their mutual love for the works of Amos Oz, an Israeli author. As their feelings develop for each other, each begins to explore the others world, ultimately exposing the misconceptions one has about the other. When there secret relationship is discovered, a scandal ensues.

Uncle Chatzkel: (Australia) Rod Freedman, dir. 52min. Uncle Chatzkel portrays the victory of one man over racism, oppression and personal adversity. One Last Chance: (Australia) Ron Freedman, dir. 38min. An investigation into an alleged Lithuanian war criminal in Australia that explores Lithuania's willingness to confront its past and Australia's role as a safe haven for war criminals. Filmed in Lithuania, Israel and Australia.

Chazak: A Testament of Strength: Fred Gallo, dir. 31min. "Chazak" is a sophisticated piece that chronicles the work of the Moses and Aaron Foundation that helps special needs children in New York's Jewish Community.

The Code Conspiracy: Hank Whetstone, dir.108min. With help from an Israeli scientist, a fledgling software company develops an encryption software algorithm that is deemed illegal and a threat to national security.

Main Page is www.Jewishfilm.com



http://www.jewishfilm.com -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 2000, July 2000
Copyright © 1996-2000 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
http://members.aol.com/jewfilm -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 1999
Copyright © 1996-2000 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
jewfilm@aol.com

Disclaimer: We provide this data as a service to readers. We are non-commercial. We are not responsible for the results of the use or misuse of the data and/or opinions provided.


MBA Style
Jewish Books Jewish Books