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YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Glenn Gaylord
SOURCE: Glenn Gaylord, 1016 N Croft Ave, Los Angeles Va 90069 Ph 323-654-8745
TEXT: A nice Jewish gay teen channels his “inner Britney” to pursue the boy of his dreams in this music fantasia.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Deborah Dickson
TIME: 54 min video
SOURCE: Berkeley Film Group. 379 60th Street OAKLAND CA 94618.
TEXT: Ruthie and Connie are celebrating 25 years as lovers and 40 years as friends. Jewish, lesbian grandmothers from working class Brooklyn, Ruthie and Connie fell in love, divorced their husbands and emerged as two middle-aged "baby dykes." For Connie, coming out was liberating; for Ruthie, it was wrenching. It changed their lives as they struggled for acceptance by their families, children and friends. Along the way, they externalized their struggle as they discovered the urgent need to fight against the laws and attitudes that shaped and constricted their lives. In the late eighties, they rose to prominence in the fight for same-sex benefits when they sued the New York City Board of Education and after a five-year struggle, they won the benefits for themselves and all New York City employees. Political activism and community organizing continues to be as much a part of their lives as the love they share. Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House takes us into the lives of two wonderful women who balance their worlds with humour, care and wisdom.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Dustin Lance Black
SOURCE: William Kaufman 402 Hintley Drive Los Angeles CA 90048 Tel 310 652 0825
TEXT: What happens when you put six gay boys on a luxury bus and send them on a journey through the desert to an event that makes Mardi Gras look like midnight mass? What you get is a wild ride of sexual twists, high-speed hijinks and more than a few bumps along the way. On board is Jimmy, the Swedish Olympic diver; Jason, the sensitive porn star; Billy, the sexy Jewish intellectual; Charles, the beautiful guy everyone wants and no one can have; Damon, the composer with a Stevie Nicks fixation who's more hefty than hunky; and finally Lance, the introspective director. Travelling in a mobile home that is more Priscilla than Partridge Family, the boys have everything they need for a weekend of fun in the sun—but all they can think about is sex. The smoldering erotic tension finally ignites when the boys reach the Burning Man Festival, where rampant nudity, drugs, and artistic anarchy get added to the mix. This queer take on reality shows such as "Big Brother" and MTV's "Real World" was supposed to be an Internet serial but the footage sat unused until bought back by director Black (last year’s The Journey of Jared Price). The result is a documentary that has fascinating insight into the personas of its subjects as they explore both the festival and their own foibles. Replete with comedy, camp, drugs and more sex than you can shake your stick at, you'll definitely want to ride this bus.

Naming Prairie

TITLE: Naming Prairie
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Juhasz
TIME: 7 MIN video
SOURCE: Seventh Art Releasing. 751 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles CA 90046. Phone 323-845-1455
TEXT: Celebrating both tradition and change, a joyous melding of friends and family occurs at a Jewish baby-naming ceremony for a lesbian couple’s daughter

Yellow Peppers / Pilpelim Zehubim

TITLE: Yellow Peppers / Pilpelim Zehubim
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Tammar Barkai and Ronit Foux
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: Video 30 MIN
SOURCE: Contact the Sam Spiegel Film & Tv School 4 Yad Harutzim St POB 10636 Jerusalem Israel Phone 972 2 6731950
TEXT: Orit and Alma are getting ready to open a restaurant in Jerusalem. Through their preparations, the relationship between the two women is intimately explored.

Diary of a Male Whore

TITLE: Diary of a Male Whore
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Tawfik Abu Wael
COUNTRY: Palestine
LANGUAGE: Arabic and Hebrew w/ English ST
SOURCE: Arab Film Distribution. 2417 10th Ave., Seattle WA 98102 USA Ph 206 322 0882 Fax 206 322 4586
TEXT: Set in present day Tel Aviv, a prostitute and elderly Jewish man rendex-vous. During the encounter, the prostitute recalls a traumatic event from 1967, and the effect of war on his adolescence

It's A Boy! Journeys from Male to Female

TITLE: It's A Boy! Journeys from Male to Female
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Marla Leech
SOURCE: Phone 415-281-0547
TEXT: What do people who have lived as women have to tell us about what it is like to live as men? What does it mean to change from being a woman of colour to being a man of colour? How does it feel to switch from being a hardcore lesbian separatist to being a straight white male? Or to have identified as a Jewish, butch dyke for 30-plus years, to later pray at the male side of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem? In exploring the experiences of three individuals, It’s a Boy! broadens our understanding of what it means to be male, female, both and more.

Fantasy - Another Country

TITLE: Fantasy - Another Country
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Avi Hershkovitz and Sharon Hamou
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: Video 52 min
SOURCE: Sharon Hammou 4 rue des portes blanches, paris, france 75018 phone/fax +33 1 42 62085
TEXT: Lady Samantha and Lady Chris are two engaging Tel Aviv drag queens—one Arab, the other Jewish—who explore questions of identity, gay politics and their relationship to their drag characters while they plan their first joint performance. Despite their different cultural backgrounds, Samy Jaber (Lady Samantha) and Mikey Simon (Lady Chris) share the common experience of having moved to Tel Aviv to escape familial pressures and religious intolerance, and to live openly as gay men and drag performers. In their new home they also share the experience of marginalization: Tel Aviv's conservative gay community is dominated by Ashkenazi (European Jewish) concerns. In addition, Mikey, a dark-skinned Jew of Yemeni ancestry, is more likely to experience the police harassment that targets Arabs than Samy. Their friendship, born of these shared experiences and the vocal criticism of mainstream gay spokespeople they bring to the stage, serves as the bridge between their two very different styles of drag. Skillfully balancing performance footage with intelligent and insightful interviews, Fantasy—Another Country presents portraits of two compelling individuals who prove that friendship and respect between Jews and Arabs are not just a fantasy

A Family Affair

TITLE: A Family Affair
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Helen Lesnick
SOURCE: Helen Lesnick Phone 760-603-0121 pob 130874 carlsbad ca 92013
TEXT: Rachel, a commitment-shy, Jewish lesbian, has fled New York and her tempestuous on-again, off-again relationship with Reggie, her manipulative lover. She retreats home to California to her enthusiastic PFLAG mother who has virtually made a career out of Rachel’s sexuality. Complete with rainbow flag curtains and photo album devoted to her outstanding achievements as a PFLAG member, Mom is the perfect candidate to tackle the task of finding a ""Ms. Rightowitz"" for her daughter. After a series of bad dates, Rachel gives in and lets Mom set her up with non-Jewish Christine, ""a typical California girl."" To her surprise, the date goes well and love begins to blossom. Enter the U-Haul of lesbian love and domestic bliss. All seems to be going perfectly—Rachel and Christine are headed for the altar and Christine contemplates converting to Judaism—that is until Rachel gets cold feet and her past comes back to haunt her.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz / Liran Atzmor and Rael Andoni
COUNTRY: Israel / Palestine
LANGUAGE: in Hebrew and Arabic with English ST
SOURCE: first hand films. Zurich, Switzerland. 41-1-312-2060
TEXT: The hit of the hotdocs fest, HRW, and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, but declined by other Jewish festivals. In the year 2000, some Palestinians took a group tour of Israel and their former homes. On the tour, they have anger but they must confront the reality that Israel exists and thrives. One Palestinian visits a memorial to Yitzhak Rabin. A Palestinian woman, whose husband is in jail for murdering an Israeli soldier, discusses how she feels for the mother of that murdered soldier. The tour members, some from Jordan, some from camps, some from towns, must interact with each other as well as their Israeli bus driver. Includes music by Ehud Banai and Muhssein Abed al-Hamid.


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Ruth Walk / Noemi Schory and Liran Atzmor
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
SOURCE: Firsthandfilm in Zurich Switzerland. Tel: 41-1-312-2060 Schaffhauserstrasse 359 CH-8050 Zurich Switzerland
TEXT: A devestating look at the Jewish residents of Hebron from the director’s POV. Ruth Walk created a woman-to-woman film among the Orthodox women living in Hebron. She interviews tham about their motivations for living in Hebron and their lives in a war zone. The military is a daily presence in their lives, in all its aspects. Are they courageous? Or are they mad? Screened at Hotdocs

War Photographer

TITLE: War Photographer
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Christian Frei
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SOURCE: films transit international 402 notre-dame east Montreal qc h2y 1c8 canada OR First Run Films
TEXT: A five-time winner of the Robert Capa Gold Medal for photography, James Nachtwey has dedicated his career to chronicling war, terrorism and natural catastrophes around the globe. In order to make this remarkable film, veteran documentarian Frei accompanied Nachtwey for two years, through war-torn Kosovo and Palestine (West Bank) and poverty-stricken regions of Indonesia. Attaching a miniature film camera to Nachtwey's equipment while following closely behind him, Frei was able to create a unique blend of still and moving images, documenting the events that the renowned photographer shoots. This gritty film, despite travelling in some of the world's most troubled regions, nevertheless uplifts through the assuredness of Nachtwey, an artist who risks his life because he still believes that, by bearing witness, global conditions can change for the better. Nominated for a 2002 Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. He attempts to present a case that he does not exploit the people in tragic situations whom he photographs. He must be the most stoic unemotional man on the face of the planet. As a viewer I had hoped he would speak to the camera more, but he doesn’t, he just snaps.

The Trials of Henry Kissinger

TITLE: The Trials of Henry Kissinger
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki
COUNTRY: U.S./U.K./Chile
TIME: 80m; video
SOURCE: Human Rights Film Festival, June 2002
TEXT: Part contemporary investigation and part historical inquiry, THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER follows the quest of one journalist in search of justice. The film focuses on Christopher Hitchens' charges against Henry Kissinger as a war criminal - allegations documented in Hitchens' book of the same title - based on his role in countries such as Cambodia, Chile, and Indonesia. Kissinger's story raises profound questions about American foreign policy and highlights a new era of human rights. Increasing evidence about one man's role in a long history of human rights abuses leads to a critical examination of American diplomacy through the lens of international standards of justice. Gibney and Jarecki use extensive interviews and archival footage to remind us of Kissinger's powerful role in global affairs, while reconstructing the cases that Hitchens' so adamantly argues in his book. Both filmmakers will be present.


TITLE: 500 DUNAM ON THE MOON – The Story of Three Villages Ain Hawd, Ein Hod and Ain Hawd Al Jadida
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Rachel Leah Jones
TIME: 48m, video
SOURCE: $30 RLJ Productions 226 Carlton Ave. #4 Brooklyn, NY. 11205 USA
TEXT: Ayn Hawd is a Palestinian village that was captured and depopulated by Israeli forces in the 1948 war. In 1953 Marcel Janco, a Romanian painter and a founder of the Dada movement, helped transform the village into a Jewish artists' colony, and renamed it Ein Hod. The Israeli government then stated that the transplanted Arab village of Ayn Hawd was illegal and wanted to demolish it for a state park. This documentary tells the story of the village's original inhabitants, who, after expulsion, settled only 1.5 kilometers away in the outlying hills. This new Ayn Hawd cannot be found on official maps, as Israeli law doesn't recognize it, and its residents, deemed "present absentees" by the authorities, do not receive basic services such as water, electricity or an access road. Rachel Leah Jones' filmmaking debut is a critical look at the art of dispossession and the creativity of the dispossessed.
The filmmaker writes, “In 1948 Israeli forces expelled between 650-950 Palestinians from Ayn Hawd, a 700 year old Moslem village in the Southern Carmel hills. Most of Ayn Hawd's inhabitants ended up in refugee camps on the West and East Banks of the Jordan, while some 150 villagers managed to remain inside the borders of Israel after the war and became what are known in Israel as "Present Absentees." In 1953, while the 418 Palestinian villages depopulated by Israeli forces during the war were being razed to the ground, the village of Ayn Hawd was designated for preservation as an artist’s colony. Under the vision of Marcel Janco, a Romanian Jewish refugee who was one of the founders of the Dada movement, Ayn Hawd was repopulated with Israel's finest painters, sculptors, and potters. In 1954 the name of the village was officially changed to "Ein Hod" which in Hebrew means "The Spring of Glory" (the Arabic "Ayn Hawd" means "Spring of the Trough"). Today, Ein Hod is the site of a world renowned sculpture biennale, as well as home to numerous galleries, exhibits, festivals, and concerts. It has served as a mecca of Israeli cultural production. The village mosque was transformed into a restaurant/bar modeled after the Cafe Voltaire in Zurich, where Dada was first conceived. Meanwhile, in the hills above Ein Hod, Some of Ayn Hawd's Present Absentees, headed by Muhammad Mahmoud 'Abd al-Ghani Abu al-Hayja (also known as "Abu Hilmi"), settled in a hamlet on what used to be their pastures, and today is a Jewish National Fund forest (planted in 1964) and administered by the Carmel National Park Authority (established in 1973). Ayn Hawd al-Jadida: "the New Ayn Hawd," is an unrecognized village according to Israeli law, and all of its 35 houses are considered illegal, and are slated for demolition. As an unrecognized village, they receive no governmental services such as water, electricity, sewage, a health clinic, an access road, or a public school. Despite the fact that Ayn Hawd al-Jadida first received official recognition from the Israeli Ministry of Interior in 1994, nothing has changed in the make-shift village over the past eight years. The residents measure the passing of time according to the various landmark events which have shaped their consciousness, if not their lived reality: "the first demolition order," "the second demolition order," "the first recognition," "the second recognition," etc.. For years, these refugees worked as gardeners, construction workers, and "handymen" in their former village. The Dada movement, a guiding force for Ein Hod's artists, called for the negation of bourgeois linguistic and pictorial conventions, and for a return to a generalized, indigenous, primitive art, with an emphasis on paradox in the form of nihilistic satire. To these artists, Ayn Hawd is a found object. Its glory: the ruins-aesthetic (in stark contrast with the perceived artificiality of modern Israeli architecture), and its inhabitants have gone to great length to preserve this "distressed" look, thanks, in part, to the services and know-how of the village's original owners.
In October 1998 a forest fire raged through the Carmel hills, damaging several Jewish settlements, including Nir Etzion and Ein Hod. The fire also licked at the houses of Ayn Hawd al-Jadida, which would have burned to the ground were it not for the residents' efforts to stave off the fire with their hands. The provisional water supply to the village from Nir Etzion was cut off, and all Israeli fire fighting efforts concentrated on evacuating the Jewish residents and extinguishing their settlements. (this isn’t mentioned in the film) Ayn Hawd al-Jadida, the unrecognized village nestled in the heart of the forest planted by the JNF, was all but forgotten. Israeli TV was flooded with broadcasts of Ein Hod artists lamenting the loss of their homes overnight, while Israeli news media incited public hysteria by insinuating that the fire was the result of arson on the part of "hostile elements." Subsequently, and despite the police's own assertions that there was really no evidence to substantiate such claims, a resident of Ayn Hawd al-Jadida was arrested for setting the forest ablaze.
The film actually began as a study of the Israeli Jews who now live in recreated and restored Arab homes, and the Israeli Arabs who have built “Israeli-style” homes. The film then took a different course. The Israeli’s who are interviewed were told it was going to be an architectural film. Anecdotally, the tour guide for the artists colony who is followed by the camera, is highly supportive of rights and recognition for Ayn Hawd and the telling of their story, but while on screen, she is playing a “role” of a extroverted tour guide. Regrettably, the filmmaker fails to explain the creation of the Committee of the 40 villages, and how the main person in the film, Muhammad Mahmoud 'Abd al-Ghani Abu al-Hayja, was actually a founder of the committee. The Film also fails to mention how the Jewish residents worked with the committee to help the village until it became too political to focus, and they then quit.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Michal Aviad
TIME: 58m, video
SOURCE: // Woman Make Movies New York, NY 462 Broadway Suite 500 10013
TEXT: From the director of “Ever Shot Anyone.” Located in the heartland of Israel, the town of Ramleh is a former Palestinian town that serves as a microcosm of the beliefs, biases and conflicts of women living in the country today. Everyone is a transplant, whether they are from dozens of old Palestinian Villages, people who fled a Libyan massacre nearly 100 years ago, Greek Orthodox, Moslem, Catholic, Bedouins from the Sinai, secular Jewish, former USSR residents, Jewish Shas member formerly from Arab countries, etc. Everyone was displaced, even if by Napoleon. The film profiles several seemingly disparate women residing in the town - two ultra-orthodox Jewish women who rediscover religion and support the conservative Shas party, the third largest political party in Israel; a single mother of two and recent immigrant from Uzbekistan struggling to establish herself in her new country; and a young Muslim teacher and law student attempting to find a sense of national identity in a predominately Jewish state and deal with the restrictions of her conservative parents and brothers. Filmed between the general elections in 1999 and the 2001 elections, Ramleh demonstrates the profound cultural and political divisions barring these women from living together as a united community, and reveals how their political landscape helped sow the seeds of the intifada in 2000. Great scenes include a woman’s devotion to Rabbi Ovadia and Deri; the defeat of Bibi, the election of Barak, and then the election of Sharon; a tear jerking Shiva scene; what Palestinian kids talk about in class; Note to file… if the UJA showed this film, they could rake in the bucks by showing Svetlana, her job search and the shiva scene. The film, in the end, is of three women, who will never meet, reside in the same city, is merely a glimpse, but is the future of the country. Human Rights Watch Film Festival, June 2002


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: John S. Friedman and Eric Nadler
TIME: 97m, video
SOURCE: 19 Lambert Road Sharon CT 06069 Friedman-Nadler Productions 860-364 0091
TEXT: Filmed over five years on four continents, STEALING THE FIRE focuses on Karl-Heinz Schaab, a German technician convicted of treason in 1999 for selling top secret nuclear weapons plans to Iraq. The film traces an unbroken chain of events and people that connects today's nuclear weapons underground with the atomic bomb program of Nazi Germany. STEALING THE FIRE investigates the 60-year history of a German multi-national corporation that directly profited from the Holocaust and in recent decades became a leading supplier of nuclear weapons technology to developing nations, including Iraq and Pakistan.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Mai Masri
COUNTRY: Palestine/USA
TIME: 56m, video
SOURCE: Arab Film Distribution Seattle Washington 98102 206-322-0882 2417 10th Avenue East
TEXT: Shot during the liberation of South Lebanon and the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada, FRONTIER OF DREAMS AND FEARS accompanies two young girls on an extraordinary journey to the borders of exile, which separate them from each other and from their homeland. Mona (from Beirut's Shatila refugee camp) and Manar (from Bethlehem's Dheisha camp) begin to communicate via email and build a friendship, despite the barriers separating them. Their remarkable relationship culminates in their dramatic meeting at the Israeli/Lebanese border. Through their correspondence, we learn of their dreams and fears they share with their friends in both camps. Human Rights Watch Film Festival, June 2002


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Antonia Caccia
TIME: 60m, video
SOURCE: Human Rights Watch Film Festival, June 2002
TEXT: It's Christmas in Bethlehem, 2000. In this final year of the 20th century, the town was expecting five million visitors to celebrate the end of the millennium, but the streets are deserted, the hotels are shut, and shops are empty. The Israeli army has closed off Bethlehem since the second Intifada began the previous September. Areas of the town have been heavily shelled and ruins are everywhere. Bethlehem Diary focuses on two Palestinian families and a human rights lawyer during this tumultuous period. We witness their lives amidst extraordinary events - through moments of despair, confusion and anger - and the ubiquitous presence of the Israeli army. The intimate, surreal, and humorous stories they tell help us to understand how violence and uncertainty affect both their public and private family lives.


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Avi Mograbi
TIME: 72 minutes
SOURCE: avi mograbi 5 BILU Street Tel Aviv Israel 65222 Tel: 972-3-685 8889 Fax 972 3 685 9154
TEXT: From one of Israel's most political and humorous filmmakers comes a pointed snapshot of his country. This is the third film in his threesome or trilogy that started with a film about how a filmmaker learned to love Arik Sharon, followed by a film that showed a filmmaker who celebrates his 50th birthday during the 50th anniversary of both the founding of the State of Israel and the Nakba. In this film, the month of August is one of optimism and hope for many Israelis, including Mograbi's wife (played by Mograbi with a towel on his head). However, for Mograbi himself, the month constitutes a metaphor for whatever is hateful in the state of Israel. In August 2001 the streets of Israel were filled with anger, frustration and fear. Determined to capture the current complexities of his homeland, Mograbi went into the streets of Israel with no script and no crew, but with a video camera, and captured on video more than he ever bargained for. Intercutting this footage with auditions he hosted for Israeli actresses to play the wife of the Israeli physician responsible for the massacre in Hebron in 1994, AUGUST becomes a chilling portrait of the emotional state of Israel today. It shows an Israel of nudniks and paranoia which is always on the verge of violence. Includes scenes of soccer, arab’s in a slave market, arye deri and shas supporters, bibi and Sharon, and more.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Simone Bitton
TIME: 52m, video
SOURCE: Cineteve, 4 Quai des Celestins, 75 004 Paris France Tel 33 1 48 04 30 00 Fax 33 1 48 04 70 48 OR SEE OR EMAIL: cineteve@cineteve.FR
TEXT: CITIZEN BISHARA is a portrait of the most emblematic Palestinian citizen of Israel: Azmi Bishara, a member of the Knesset and a man about to stand trial for his opinions, following the decision to revoke his parliamentary immunity. Bishara, who holds a PhD in political theory, a brilliant thinker and debator, is a political figure who leads the struggle for the equality of Arab citizens - who comprise 20% of the Israeli populace - and their recognition as a national minority. From April 1999 to February 2001, director Simone Bitton (and Assit Director Rachel Leah Jones) followed Bishara through his parliamentary work, his electoral campaigns, and the dissemination of his ideas about citizenship and democracy. What is not mentioned in the film is that after the film was completed, in 2001, the Knesset voted to take away his immunity and the Attorney Genral indicted him on two counts of incitement, one for speaking against Israel in a speech in Syria (termed a War Speech) and in Umm El Fahm, and a second time for arranging family reunification visits of elderly Israeli Arab citizens with relatives in Syria. Human Rights Watch Film Festival, June 2002


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Abdel Salam Shehada
COUNTRY: Palestine
TIME: 10 minutes, video
SOURCE: USTURA FILMS East Jerusalem POB 19525 Ustura@cyberia.JO
TEXT: A Palestinian family's land, once covered with olive trees and crops, has been bulldozed by Israeli forces.
Ummm this is not a pro Israel film… Human Rights Watch Film Festival, June 2002


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Najwa Najjar
COUNTRY: Palestine
TIME: 10 minute video
SOURCE: USTURA FILMS East Jerusalem POB 19525 Ustura@cyberia.JO Tel 972-5952 5977
TEXT: A young Palestinian leaves school to work at age 12 so he can buy a bicycle, and months later he is carrying goods across an Israeli checkpoint. He speaks to the camera about his life. Scenes of him trying to work, at a border checkpoint, playing a violent video game, asking his mom to make him breakfast.

Divine Intervention

YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Elia Suleiman
COUNTRY: France/ Morocco/ Germany
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English ST
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE: distributor is in NYC: Avatar Films in NYC
TEXT: A huge Winner at Cannes, May 26, 2002. Although some thought the award would be shared by this film and by Israeli director’s Amos Gitai’s “Kedma” Israeli film, the judges at Cannes only gave the award to this film.
Stars Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, Nayef Fahoum Daher. Palestinian director Elia Suleiman (ES) uses Israeli-manned roadblocks as a running theme in ``Divine Intervention,'' and even hired Israeli actors to play the soldiers - many of whom had served at roadblocks while in the army. That made for some interesting encounters during auditions in Tel Aviv. ``At certain moments,'' he says, ``I took advantage of my power position. I shifted roles from silent listener to blunt interrogator.'' mostly as a series of vignettes. Many are disturbing, witty and poignant; a few are just disturbing. Suleiman, who calls his film ``a chronicle of love and pain,'' plays the main character E.S. In one scene, he sits in his car and inflates a red balloon featuring the face of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The balloon soars over the roadblock, headed for Jerusalem. The Israeli soldiers angrily request permission to shoot it down. But they're so distracted that they miss a car slipping past them. The balloon reaches Jerusalem, stopping near the golden Dome of the Rock, one of Islam's holiest shrines. There are a few scenes in ``Divine Intervention'' that provide comic relief without any reference to politics. At the hospital where E.S.'s terminally ill father is being treated, a patient extricates himself from bed and shuffles into a corridor, where he lights a cigarette. Nobody stops him; everyone there--patients, nurses, doctors--is on a cigarette break.
Something weird is going on in Nazareth. Father Christmas tries to escape from the kids who plant a knife in his heart, a man systematically throws his garbage in his neighbors' backyard, while another one throw bottles at his neighbors' heads... Chaos and crazy violent acts between neighbors multiply. Meanwhile, a Palestinian couple tries to love. He lives in Jerusalem and she is in Ramallah. The political context prohibits them to love each other freely and their intimacy stops at an Israeli military checkpoint located between the two cities. It is on a nearby parking lot that this contraband love blooms. The man is played by the director. His father is dying and he must fight and resist to help these two loves survive. In order to achieve this he and his girlfriend have use of subterfuges and audacity, such as this balloon with the effigy of Arafat which, carried by the wind, bravely crosses the very symbolic border. The director's pro-Palestinian position is without ambiguity: he calls to resistance, in all its forms, against the Israeli oppressor. Of course, the violence exerted between the neighbors in the first part of film is a metaphor. These bad neighbor relationships refer to Palestinians' daily lives. Suleiman makes a militant film that, as often the case, is a vehicle for excesses and sometimes extremism, provoking uneasiness. Although well received at Cannes, a phantasmagoria sequence appears particularly tendentious. It is when a young woman fights Israeli soldiers during a training exercise. Taken as a target, she ends up killing them all one by one with different kinds of weapons. Does violence have to necessarily call for violence? Suleiman seems to believe it. In this very autobiographical account appears the figure of the sick father. Suleiman dedicates his film to the memory of his own father who, we discover in the press kit, was tortured by the Israelis in 1948. Though Gitaï knew how to take into account the points of view from both sides in Kedma , Elia Suleiman doesn't fall into that dynamic. Taking into consideration what he had to live through, how could he be able of such an approach?
After the laughter caused by the absurdity of the situations that open the story, the film is radicalized brings a certain uneasiness. We are far from the chimerical peace process in this Manichean film as well as from the possible pacification between peoples that art should promote....
Le Monde wrote, “In Israel, one can all say, but abroad is not well to criticize the country, because the linen salts is washed in family. Our company is really paranoiac." With two votes, Irit Shamgar, of Maariv (daily of right-hand side), and Uri Klein, of Ha' Aretz (daily of left), try to e Irit Shamgar of Maariv said in Le Monde that, "Like Elia Suleiman, I agree neither with Arafat nor with the policies of the Sharon team. And it is right to treat them fascists, ourselves write we it tous.les.jours. His film, I adore it but it hurts me, because it poses in a way right the problem of the Arab Israelis in our company. I dream, also, like Elia Suleiman, of a State where everyone could live in peace. But it is a Utopia, that will arrive neither for people of my generation nor for that of our children... " Uri Klein of Ha-Aretz was quoted in Le Moinde at Cannes as saying, "Alas, with all that occurs, I do not believe. And it is the film which the Israelis must see... "
I think the NYT wrote it well when it published (10/7/2002): …(it) is subtitled "a chronicle of love and pain." This is accurate enough; Mr. Suleiman does touch upon a son's grief after his father's death, and on the wordless longing of two lovers. But the description is also a little misleading: those large emotions — and a smoldering political anger about Palestinian life under Israeli occupation, as well — are refracted through a series of quick, mordant vignettes, some of which are like cinematic riddles and visual puns, delivered in elegant deadpan. The film feels less like a chronicle than a loose shuffle of moments and ideas, like the cryptic Post-it messages that paper the walls of the hero's apartment. Indeed, since the hero, a Palestinian, is named E. S., and is played (in utter silence and with Keatonesque melancholy) by Mr. Suleiman, it may be that those walls are his storyboard, the ever-changing outline of the fractured meditations unfolding before us. But the appearance of randomness — of one curious, awkward thing after another — is itself misleading, for there is an oblique, elegant sense of structure here. The interlocking series of setups, punch lines and non sequiturs add up to something touching, provocative and wonderfully strange. "Divine Intervention" is divided into three sections, each devoted to a spot on the troubled map of Israel and the Palestinian territories and linked by the hero's suffering and the director's cool, observant camera. In the first scene, a man playing E. S.'s father (Nayef Fahoum Daher) drives through Nazareth, a mostly Arab Israeli city, greeting his neighbors with a wave and a smile as he curses them under his breath. Though the father's house, like those around it, is handsome and tidy, it's in a very bad neighborhood, in the sense that the neighbors treat one another very badly. An old man in a tank-top sabotages the driveway adjacent to his home, and then collects bottles on the roof to throw at the police when they come to intervene. (He also stabs an errant soccer ball with a kitchen knife.) Nazarene social relations are perhaps best summed up in the following exchange. "Neighbor, why do you throw your garbage into my yard? Aren't you ashamed?" "But neighbor, the garbage we throw in your yard is the same garbage you throw in our garden." "But it's still shameful. You should have spoken to me about it. Neighbors should respect each other."
It is hard not to read a political subtext into these words; there may be a religious one as well (what would Jesus do?). And as the film's attention shifts from the father (who collapses on his kitchen floor and is taken to the hospital) to the son, its politics become more explicit. The first time we see him, E. S. is behind the wheel of his car, eating an apricot. When he is finished, he tosses the pit out the window, and an Israeli tank by the side of the road bursts into flames. E. S., who lives in Jerusalem, meets his lover (identified only as "the woman" and played by the crushingly beautiful Manal Khader), who is from Ramallah, in an empty lot near an Israeli checkpoint on the road between their two cities. There they hold hands and watch sorrowfully as the young, anxious Israeli soldiers go about their work, which unfolds in another series of self-contained sight gags.
The film's humor becomes more barbed and confrontational, and Mr. Suleiman twice departs from his classical, silent-movie discipline to conjure up digitally assisted fantasies of symbolic vengeance. In the first, E. S. releases a red balloon imprinted with a cartoon likeness of Yasir Arafat into the air. As it floats over their guard tower and toward the monuments of Jerusalem, the soldiers squabble over whether to shoot it down immediately or await instructions from higher up. The image of Mr. Arafat's smiling face settling over Al Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount is, perhaps now even more than when it was filmed, piquant, ambiguous and unsettling.
The same can be said of a phantasmagorical scene of musical combat known as the "Palestinian ninja sequence," which is likely, and was perhaps intended, to appall as well as amuse. In it the woman, who has vanished from E. S.'s life, returns to take on a group of soldiers who have been using her kaffiyeh-shrouded image as a target on a firing range.
The battle, choreographed to resemble an over-the-top martial-arts music video, carries the chill of real-world violence, but whether you choose to be offended or entertained, it is impossible not to marvel at Mr. Suleiman's knack for turning rage and hopelessness into burlesque. His wry, ultimately humane fatalism suggests that Palestinians and Jews are, in some respects, not so far apart. "Divine Intervention" made me think of an old bit of Yiddish metaphysics: man tracht, Gott lacht — man strives, and God laughs.


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Hany Abu-Assad
COUNTRY: Palestine
SOURCE: Cannes, May 2002
TEXT: Hany Abu-Assad's “Rana's Wedding”, played at Cannes. Stars Clara Khoury, Khalifa Natour, Ismael Dabbagh. This film is more traditional and romantic, focusing on the odyssey of a Palestinian girl who must find her boyfriend and marry him within 10 hours, or move to Egypt with her father. Along with the romance, there are clashes between stone-throwing youths and Israeli troops. Roadblocks also play a role here: the official due to perform the wedding gets stuck at one, threatening all of Rana's plans.


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Amos Gitai
COUNTRY: Israel/France/Italy
TIME: 100 minutes
SOURCE: Cannes, May 2002
TEXT: Starring Yael Amecassis, Yussuf Abu-Warda, Andrei Kashkar, and Menachem Lang. May 1948. 8 days before the creation of the state of Israël, a small rusted ship with a group of survivors from the Shoah citizens from all over Europe is welcomed by the shooting of British troops trying to forbid them from disembarking and by the shooting of the Jewish secret army who has come to help them with their first steps on the holly land. This film is the story of the first hours these men and women will spend in Palestine.
May 1948, a few days before the creation of the state of Israel, a rusted boat—the "Kedma"—conveys survivors from the Shoah to Palestine. In Hebrew, "Kedma" means "towards the East", showing the direction to recovery to these barely living survivors of the Nazi horror. Upon their arrival, they are welcome by British army shootings and then enrolled into the Jewish secret army. Confusion will follow. Gitaï attempts to depict the chaotic trajectory of a small community in search of an illusory kibbutz where they will be able to settle. But it is precisely this ground which, at the center of all the stakes, is claimed by Jews and Arabs, whose meetings are the most intense moments of film. After having fled the camps and from the British, Jews wander from one camp to another, reliving the war, tragedy and trauma. Gitaï's film opens and closes with two long shots, showing a tired Janusz who bears the scars from the war. This male character symbolizes the suffering of the Holocaust of which he is a witness. In a final poignant, he denounces the nonsense of the war and decries his own people, giving a voice to Amos Gitaï from whom he is the undoubtedly the alter ego (the director actually fought and was wounded, which is the story of his earlier film, Kippour). Stunned with anger and despair, Janusz, who saw his companions die, affirms that the Jewish people are people "without history" because he is not the master of his own destiny. Others write this history. Without being martyr, the Jewish people "can't exist". Janusz cries and shouts that all this must end. The hot topicality of Gitaï's film unfortunately contradicts the salutary will for peace expressed by its character. The director holds, throughout his upsetting film, in the right place, taking into account the points of view of both camps. Jews and Arabs feel dispossessed of a territory that they legitimately claim. There is no unwanted Manicheism or ambiguity here (unlike in Makhmalbaf's work). Gitaï, who belongs to the Israeli left wing, makes both sides dialogue and share the pain. The film converges towards an acme that is expressed in the second half of the film with vertiginous realistic combat scenes. An unsettling and heavy calm and the bodycount following the battle are soberly showed by Gitaï's camera. Everything is said in these shots and the demonstration is implacable. The spectator witnesses the triggering of an inescapable process of violence which as recent events attest, hasn't been resolved as of yet.


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: ROMAN POLANSKI /Robert ben Moussa/ Pierre
COUNTRY: Poland/ France / Germany / UK
TIME: 148 minutes
TEXT: Polanski calls it a courageous film that represents Poland. Top winner at Cannes 2002. Oscar nominee. A brilliant Polish pianist, a Jew, is confined in the Warsaw ghetto where he experiences suffering and humiliation. He escapes deportation and hides in the ruins of the city. A German officer comes to his aid and helps him to survive. Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski writes, "I always knew that one day I would make a film about this painful chapter in Polish history, but I didn't want it to be autobiographical." It's by reading the first chapter of Wladyslaw Szpilman's memoirs that Polanski knew The Pianist would be his new film." The film portrays the deportation of a brilliant Polish pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) and the pain and the struggle of living in the heart of the Warsaw ghetto. For Roman Polanski the strength of the book, written after the war by the author: "describes the reality of this period with surprising objectivity which is almost cool and scientific. In his book, there are bad Poles and good Poles, just like there were bad and good Jews, bad and good Germans..." A survivor of the Krakow ghetto Roman Polanski "wanted to recreate (his) memories from childhood. It was also important for (him) to remain as close to reality as possible, and not make a film that was typically Hollywood"
Roman Polanski writes, "As for the actor who was to play Szpilman, I was never looking for a physical resemblance. I wanted an actor who could slip into the skin of the character as I had imagined him when I worked on the script. It was important to find someone who was somewhat known. As the film was shot in English, we needed someone who spoke the language fluently. (...) I didn't find anyone in England, so I extended my search to America. When I saw a few of Adrien Brody's films, I didn't hesitate for a moment: he was THE PIANIST
Brody, is the son of Village Voice photography Sylvia Plachy, herself a survivor of the Hungarian revolt. She and her parents escaped to Austria and then to NYC.


YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Aya Somech
SOURCE: Cannes May 2002
TEXT: A construction worker kidnaps his boss on the roof of the building in order to read out his manifesto of social justice. A couple of young filmmakers are looking for a flat. A group of Arab workers are eating their lunch. Whose narrative is it ? Stars David Ohayon, yomtov bana, alex ansky

Russian Dance

TITLE: Russian Dance
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Boris Levinzon
TIME: 38min 16mm
SOURCE: Boris Levinzon, Ehad Haam St 23 #6, Ramat Gan, Israel, 52212 T: 972 3 6311644
TEXT: Synopsis: Shay is a 28 year old Russian immigrant. He has been in Israel for ten years. He looks like an Israeli, he feels like an Israeli, he even has an Israeli girlfriend. When his parents suddenly decide to return to Russia, his forced to reconsider his own identity.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Johnny Symons / Johny Symons and Lindsay Sablosky
TIME: 57
SOURCE: Johnny Symons, POB 3486, Berkeley CA 94703 510 653-8763 Fax 510 653 8783 Email:
TEXT: DADDY AND PAPA (Documentary 56:40) What if your most controversial act turned out to be the most traditional thing in the world? DADDY & PAPA explores the growing phenomenon of gay fathers and their impact on American culture through the stories of four families, including the filmmaker's. Beyond the age-old struggles all parents face. DADDY & PAPA delves into the particular challenges that gay dads face. From surrogacy and interracial adoption, to the complexities of gay divorce, to the battle for full legal status as parents, DADDY & PAPA presents a revealing look at some of the gay fathers who are breaking new ground in the ever-changing landscape of the American family
Note to File 1: Johnny’s friend, a single gay man, was about adopt two young children. The filmmaker revved up his camera, which led to filming other gay fathers in a variety of U.S. states. At the same time, Johnny and his partner seriously discuss adoption, and Johnny turns the camera on himself, exposing his own family to celluloid. Topics include white men adopting African American children, state laws covering adoption, the pain of divorce, and the scorn of others. One daughter of a divorced gay couple, Fanny, does an excellent rendition of the Four Questions at a Passover seder as Manischewitz Concord is served.
Note to File 2: Film programmers may wish to screen this with a panel Q&A with a therapist and adoption specialist who specialize in gay adoption issues, or also get their local Volvo station wagon dealer to co-sponsor the screening.
Also note.. when the young boy tries on high heels… he is mastering hard shoes as a game… it has nada to do with gender role selection

YEAR: 2001

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