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Israel Film Festival (May 5th -19th, 2011)

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      The Matchmaker, written/directed by Avi Nesher and based on the novel by Amir Gutfreund, Tuval Shafir stars as Arik Burstein, a teenager who lives in Haifa with his parents, and accepts a job as an assistant for a matchmaker, Yankele Bride (Adir Miller), during the summer of1968. Throughout the summer, he learns a lot as he makes a variety of new friends, such as the owner of a small movie theater that shows Bollywood films, and Clara Epstein (Maya Dagan), a woman who’s traumatized from her experiences during the Holocaust. Yankele loves her, but they’re currently stuck in the “friend” zone.

      Writer/director Avi Nesher has woven a tender and heartwarming narrative that feels true-to-life because its characters are well-written, complex and interesting. It’s rare to find a sensitively-written coming-of-age film that’s filled with strong performances and with abundant warmth and humor without relying on contrivances.

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