The richness of Israel at 70 will be in full view at the 15th annual Israeli Film Festival. The festival will feature five newly released films and two classics in honour of Israel’s 70th birthday and will be held in the new Arts Court Theatre at 2 Daly Avenue.
The festival opens on Thursday, May 24 with “The Cakemaker” which begins with a homosexual affair in Berlin between Thomas, a German baker and Oren, an Israeli businessman. After Oren’s accidental death, Thomas comes to Jerusalem to absorb what he can about his lover’s life and to meet Anat, the wife he had known vicariously through Oren’s stories of their intimacy. Not disclosing his connection to Oren, Thomas takes a job in Anat’s café and Thomas gradually slips into the life of his departed lover. The film explores how the dead can be embodied through the grief and attachment of the living. Director Ofir Raul Graizer lives in Berlin and visits Jerusalem frequently. A short film about David Ben-Gurion will also be screened.
In director Oded Raz‘s wry comedy “Maktub” (Arabic for fate), screening Sunday, May 27, two goons who work for a protection racket are the only survivors a terrorist bomb. They head to the Kotel and stumble upon a unique way to make sense of why they were saved: making the prayers of strangers come true. In their not-so-divine intervention in other’s lives, they also fulfil their own inner desires.
“Saving Neta,” directed by Nir Bergman, an anthology film about four women, one for each season of the year, will be shown on Sunday, June 3. Each story concerns a woman’s family ties. The stories are tangentially connected by a drifter, Neta, whom the women encounter. Although the conflicts are left unresolved at the end of each episode, the film has a coda where the characters attend a children’s concert and viewers can see at a glance how everything turned out. The classic film “The Band’s Visit” will be screened before “Saving Neta.”
In “Scaffolding,” screening Thursday, June 7, domineering father Milo and his tough son Asher work together in construction. Through his relationship with a literature teacher, remedial high school student Asher discovers how to articulate the inchoate feelings that erupt into violence. Writer-director Matan Yair, who taught troubled students, filmed “Scaffolding” with Asher Lax, a former student performing in an autobiographical role, giving the film a gritty immediacy.
Closing the festival on Sunday June 10 is “To Be a Child Again – Israel,” a documentary directed by Gabriel and Moy Volcovich. The film is a snapshot of Israel as seen through the viewpoints of 11 children from different backgrounds and various parts of the country. More than a moment in time, the film is the testimony by the young people who will create Israel’s future. The classic film “The Policeman” will also be screened.
All films begin at 7 pm and have English subtitles. Tickets are $13 per film for the general public or $9 for Soloway JCC members, Canadian Film Institute members, seniors, and students. Tickets are available for purchase at the door, cash only.
The Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by the Canadian Film Institute and The Israel Cultural Forum (Soloway JCC, the Vered Israel Cultural and Educational Program, the Embassy of Israel, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation).