UW Hillel and the UW Center for Jewish Studies is hosting an Israeli Film Festival March 1st through 5th at the Chazen Musuem, 800 University Avenue. Tickets to this event are free, and reservations can be made by visiting Hillel’s website. The schedule is as follows:
Sunday March 1 – Women and Ethnicity
Noodle, 6:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Ayelet Menahemi
Duration: 100 mins
Language: Hebrew & Mandarin with English Subtitles
Cast: Annat Waxman, Mili Avital, Bao Qi Chen
At thirty-seven, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well-regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been summarily deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings — as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing — accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life.
Festivals And Awards
Montreal World Film Festival (2007), Special Grand Prize of the Jury (Director – Ayelet Menahami), 2007 Israel Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Yana’s Freinds, 8:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Arik Kaplun
Duration: 90 mins
Language: Hebrew, Russian
Cast: Evelyn Kaplun, Nir Levi, Shmil Ben Ari, Mosko Alkalai.
Yana’s Friends is an irresistible romantic comedy about Russian immigrants who land in the brave new world of Tel-Aviv during the Gulf War. This absurd situation draws young and beautiful Yana toward Eli, her playboy Israeli roommate. A wedding videographer and professional voyeur, Eli captures Yana’s most private moments when her husband secretly returns to Moscow and she is left to fend for herself. Outside, missiles fly and Saddam Hussein threatens chemical warfare. But in the apartment’s only safe, hermetically sealed bedroom, sparks of a different nature fly. When a crack in the ceiling reveals their landlady’s private love letters, a Seinfeldian plot blossoms with a cast of characters sure to delight. Moscow born, Israeli bred director Arik Kaplun was recently named one of Variety’s Ten New Directors to Watch at Sundance. Wife Evelyne Kaplun shines as the Ally McBealish Yana.
Festival and Awards:
Winner of five 1999 Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Screenplay.
Winner of the Best Film and Best Actress (Evelyn Kaplun) Awards at the 1999 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Monday March 2 – Contemporary Life in Israel
Wisdon of the Pretzel, 6:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Ilan Heitnar
Duration: 101 mins
Cast: Guy Loel, Osnat Hakim, Yoram Zacs.
Based on a true story, The Wisdom of the Pretzel is the film adaptation of the best-selling Israeli novel. Golan is disaffected Israeli supported by indulgent parent. At 30, he sees no point in getting a job, finding a wife or stopping the endless round of parties. But it only takes one blind date to challenge everything he has ever believed, about himself, about love and about the nature of life in contemporary Israel.
Jellyfish, 8:30PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Etgar Keret & Shira Geffen
Duration: 78 mins.
Language: Hebrew, English, Tagalog, German
Cast: Sarah Adler,Nikole Leidman,Gera Sandler, Noa Knoller.
Poignant, often witty and exceedingly cinematic, JELLYFISH (MEDUZOT), tells the story of three very different Tel Aviv women whose intersecting stories weave an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. Batya, a catering waitress, takes in a child apparently abandoned at a local beach. Batya is one of the servers at the wedding reception of Keren, a bride who breaks her leg escaping a locked toilet stall, ruining her chance at a dream Caribbean honeymoon. And attending the event with an employer is Joy, a non Hebrew-speaking domestic worker who has guiltily left her son behind in her native Philippines.
As this distaff trio separately wends their way through Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, they struggle with issues of communication, affection and destiny—but at times find uneasy refuge in its tranquil seas.
Tuesday, March 3 The LGBT Scene
Stefan Braun, 6:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Itamar Alcalay
Duration: 62 mins.
Fabulous archival footage of Tel Aviv’s gay life from the 1950s immerses us in the world of society furrier Stefan Braun and the man who loved, worshipped and stood by him for 39 years, Eliezer Rath. Braun’s charisma and zest fascinated not only Israel’s wealthy matrons, chic models and his many lovers, but also his extended family for whom he was patriarch and benefactor. But soon La Dolce Vita on the Mediterranean becomes a rivalry between family of origin and Braun’s chosen—even if closeted—family, Rath. After Braun’s death, a battle begins for his legacy. The family contests the will, while the bereft Rath sits in Braun’s still-untouched room talking to his lost lover. Everyone has their say in this story, but Braun himself remains a fascinating enigma.
The Bubble, 8:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Eytan Fox.
Duration: 117 mins.
Genre: Drama / Romance.
Language: Hebrew, Arabic.
Cast: Ohad Knoller, Alon Friedman, Daniela Virtzer, Yousef ‘Joe’ Sweid.
The Bubble is the story of three young Israelis, Noam, Lulu, and Yali, who share an apartment in the heart of Tel Aviv’s hippest neighborhood. During the day they all work hard, but sneak out for cigarette breaks. In the evenings they hit the town drinking or stay at home watching television. Their last concern is the country’s problems, and they are uninterested in the conflicts of the Middle East. However, when Noam falls in love with Ashraf, a Palestinian guy, the three Israelis decide to illegally hide him in their apartment. He becomes a part of their family, but they find that their love and friendship cannot withstand the harsh reality. The film examines a different view of young Israeli life, focusing on love, friendship, and music, while also looking at the prejudices encountered by Palestinians and gays in contemporary Israeli culture.
Weddnesday, March 4 The Quest for Identity
Out for love, will be Back Shortly, 6:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Dan Katzir.
Duration: 55 mins.
Dan Katzir’s autobiographical film expresses the outcry of his generation, as it struggles to find love and privacy amidst the reality of daily terror and hate. Mr. Katzir, a former officer and paratrooper intimately reveals his loves story with Iris, a charming girl about to begin her army service. A truly poetic film filled with beauty, innocence and wisdom. This film is also an important historic document with rare and shocking footage from the era of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Made with much love and humor, this brave film examines Israel’s most painful scars. A unique Israeli classic which has garnered over 13 International Awards across the globe in numerous film festivals and a nomination for an Israeli Academy award. It aired on many TV stations including HBO in the US, Channel 4 – UK, Franc2 and Shanghai TV, to name a few.
OUT FOR LOVE has played in hundreds of venues around the world. Here are some of the many places that have shown the film and reviews from local press:
Jerusalem Right Tel Aviv Left, 8:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Alon Sharvit.
Duration: 89 mins.
On the line between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv move the perpetual wanderers: they move between the sacred and the secular, abandoning city life, leaving behind their families, longing to a human connection.This is, in a way, the story of the Director of this film. Alon Sharvit’s family, except for him, became religious twenty years ago and now Sharvit explores the process of becoming religious or secular, focusing on the bond between the ultra-orthodox and the secular members of the family.
A son, who became secular, left his ultra-orthodox family in Jerusalem to the agnostic Tel-Aviv. Years later, destiny reunites them at the most dramatic moment of their life.
A father, who became religious, left his bohemian life in Tel Aviv for the world of the Torah in Jerusalem, leaving behind a little girl and a great love he prayed not to lose. Eighteen years after, they meet for self examination.
The son of a well known Rabbi became secular and established an association for others like him who leave religion to become secular. After seven years of struggle against the ultra-orthodox society, he comes back home – repentent.
Through the life stories of the three protagonists, the journey is described in three parts: first the tearing asunder, then the longing for belonging and finally the returning home. After years of searching and struggling the reconciliation takes place on the screen.
Thursday, March 5 Golden Days, Nostalgic nights
The Policeman – HaShoter Azulai, 6:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Ephraim Kishon.
Duration: 87 mins.
Genre: Comedy / Drama.
Cast: Shaike Ophir, Zaharira Harifai.
Veteran Israeli comedian Shaike Ophir, who played a recurring character of a clueless policeman in the early films of celebrated Israeli satirist and filmmaker Ephraim Kishon (Sallah, The Big Dig), stars as this beloved character in The Policeman.
Officer Azulai is the ultimate loser in the police station of Yafo (Jaffa). His incompetence is only matched by his soft-heartedness. When Azulai’s superiors decide to send him to early retirement, the local criminals come to his aid. This lyrical comedy was nominated to the Oscars and won the Golden Globe in 1972.
Over the Ocean, 8:30 PM @ Chazen Museum
Director: Jacob Goldwasser
Duration: 91 mins.
Cast: Aryeh Moskona, Dafna Rechter, Moti Giladi.
When Morris, a fellow survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, comes to visit him in Israel in 1962, Menachem is of course glad to see him. Morris’ tales about nearly limitless prosperity and opportunity in Canada intrigue him also, since he is deeply worried about the future of his family in war-ridden Israel. Perhaps he should relocate his family to Toronto. Menachem’s ten-year-old son Haim is far too busy playing games and planning dangerous forays into neighboring countries to notice his father’s preoccupations, and his brother-in-law is ferociously dedicated to implementing socialist ideals in a strong Israel and is not about to leave. However, his daughter Miri has been seeing a bad sort of fellow and is in real danger of getting into trouble with him. He sends his daughter to Toronto to get her out of trouble but has second thoughts about leaving Israel for good.
For more information, visit UW Hillel’s website.