Life in Israel, and its depiction in art, often reflects a duality in which everyday life can turn its back on the continuing conflict and peril. The four films being screened at Ottawa’s 13th Annual Israeli Film Festival contain this dichotomy: two are intensely political and two explore devotion within families.
The festival opens Thursday, June 9 with “Laugh Lines,” directed by Pini Eden, the bittersweet tale of Dana, a young woman who shoulders the problems of two generations of her family. Dana’s life revolves around her aging grandparents. Her grandmother has decided that she and her husband should end their lives gracefully with a suicide pact. How much determination and cunning does it require to deter her grandparents’ death and her parents’ divorce? And how much control does Dana really have over other people’s lives?
On Sunday, June 19 the festival presents “Wounded Land,” directed by Erez Tadmor, a fraught drama set in the mixed Jewish and Arab city of Haifa. After a suicide bombing, the victims and the bomber are brought to the same hospital for triage and treatment. In the 24 hours after the attack, the hospital staff and a policeman guarding the bomber struggle to maintain their principles and professional standards in the chaos of locating their own family members who might have been at the bomb site.
On Thursday, June 23 the festival will screen “Rabin in his Own Words,” directed by Erez Laufer, a skillful documentary using archival footage and home movies and Yitzhak Rabin’s own voice to portray Rabin’s life through his early years as a brilliant student, his service in the Palmach, his military career as chief-of-staff of the Israel Defense Forces, his political life as a diplomat in Washington and as prime minister of Israel, including his role in the Oslo Accords and embrace of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process which led to his tragic assassination. Laufer captures more than Rabin’s biography: he documents stark changes in the Israeli political landscape.
The festival will close on Sunday, June 26 with “Wedding Doll,” directed by Nitzan Giladi, a jewel-like film. Hagit is a young woman with mild cognitive deficits, who works in a toilet paper factory in Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev. She dreams of marriage to the son of the factory owner and creates small bridal effigies out of toilet paper. Abandoned by her husband, Hagit’s mother Sarah struggles to protect Hagit, who is determined to find independence and marriage.
All films begin at 7 pm, have English subtitles, and will be shown at the River Building Theatre RB2200, 43 Campus Avenue at Carleton University.
Tickets are $13 (general public) and $9 (SJCC members, Canadian Film Institute members, seniors, and students). Tickets are available at the door, cash only.
The Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by the Canadian Film Institute and the Israel Cultural Forum: Soloway Jewish Community Centre, Vered Israel Cultural and Educational Program, Embassy of Israel, Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation.
For information, contact Ella Dagan, Vered Israel Cultural and Educational Program manager, at 613-798-9818, ext. 243, or firstname.lastname@example.org.