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The 21st Israel Film Festival


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COMRADE - Dir. Eyal Shiray 2005 U.S. Premiere

Ilan, an adolescent boy is in a constant clash with his father. He finds a stack of letters in the attic from his sister, Dalia, hidden from him. Through the letters he learns the story of his sister's disappearance, and facts about his life and deceased mother. Ilan runs away to his sister, and becomes close to her eccentric neighbor, an aging communist. With Ilan's help they battle menacing authorities. 80 min

DISTORTION - Dir. Haim Bouzaglo 2004

It is a time of Intifada, terrorist attacks, tension and fear. A director/playwright who promised to present a script to the Tel Aviv "Kameri" Theater doesn't manage to write a single line. The frustrated playwright suspects his wife is cheating on him and hires a detective to follow her. He starts writing his new play, which mirrors his jealous suspicion documenting the investigation into his wife's affair. 107:00 min.

HILL 24 DOESN'T ANSWER - Dir. Thorold Dickinson 1955

Four young Zionists are assigned to defend strategic Hill 24 outside Jerusalem, in order to maintain access to the besieged city. Through the diverse personal stories of the defenders, we gain a critical perspective on the birth of Israel and those who risked their lives to ensure the State's survival. The film explores the fears and hopes of Jews in Eretz Israel and their bloody struggles for independence. This dramatic war epic was shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival and it was hailed by the international critics for its combination of national symbolism and sweeping personal stories. Today, 50 years after its release, it is an opportunity to see the way in which the cinema of back then examined Zionist myths. 101:00 min

JANEM, JANEM - Dir. Haim Bouzaglo 2005 U.S. Premiere

Aldi is a school teacher and combat vet with post war syndrome. He's turning 40 and going through an acute mid-life crisis. His wife refuses to have children and doesn't fulfill him. He decides to travel, but instead of getting on a plane, he goes underground joining a group of Romanian and Turkish construction workers. He falls in love with an illegal Russian immigrant and lives among the workers exploited by shady Israelis who hire out foreign laborers and control a group of prostitutes. 104:00 min.

JOY - Dir. Julie Schles 2005 U.S. Premiere

Joy is a heartbreakingly unforgettable character with a dysfunctional family. Her mom nags her to lose weight and find a husband. Her uptight brother loses his job, but pretends to go to work each day and her dad's bladder is getting weaker. Joy is in a dead end job with a boss that exploits her. When she auditions for a reality show about forgiveness, she's surprised to find them interested in her. A masterful work from a director who has the uncanny ability to encompass the endearing and the bleak. 90:00 min.
Best Actress Sigalit Fuchs Jerusalem Int. Film Festival 2005

METTALIC BLUES – - Dir. Danny Verete 2004

In this buddy road picture, Shmuel and Siso (Moshe Ivgy) have a used car lot in Israel. They buy a classic Lincoln Limo and decide to take it to Germany to get the best price. Everything goes wrong after Shmuel loses his wallet on their first night. Their get rich quick scheme implodes when they are offered little for the Limo from the dealer they were depending on. Their paranoia of Germany gets the best of them and their friendship is taken to the limit. 86:00 min.

NOW OR NEVER - Dir. Eitan Londner 2005 U.S. Premiere

The time is six months prior to the inauguration of the State of Israel. Was David Ben Gurion going to declare independence? Would refugees be freely admitted? Would America support Israel? What would be the effect of the termination of the British mandate in Israel? Several important historical figures including Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Shertok, General George Marshall and King Abdullah of Jordan are feature characters in this dramatic historical film.

OUT OF SIGHT - Dir. Daniel Syrkin 2005 U.S. Premiere

Ya'ara (24) is attractive, independent, confident, intelligent she has just begun her PhD in Mathematics at Princeton University and she is blind. She rushes back to Israel when she hears of Talia's suicide, her cousin, kindred spirit and best friend. Ya'ara embarks upon a private investigation trying to discover the reason that led Talia to take her own life. 85:00 min.
Winner Best Director, Israel Film Academy 2005.

SUMMER STORY - Dir. Smuel Peleg Haimovitch 2005 U.S. Premiere Gal a 12 year old is the village mailman in the summer of 1982 and infatuated with a beautiful, but sickly 19 year old Chaya who corresponds with soldiers in the Lebanon War. Out of jealousy Gal destroys a photo sent to her by a soldier. When Chaya’s illness worsens, Gal goes to Lebanon to photograph the soldier himself. A sensitive and touching coming of age story. 74:00 min.

THE SCHWARTZ DYNASTY - Dir. Shmuel Hasfari & Amir Hasfari 2005 U.S. Premiere Miriam Schwartz's world falls apart after her husband, the head of a religious council, commits suicide as result of a financial scandal. Her oddball son Bomba is kicked out of his settlement. His son, a religious pothead and Bar Mitzvah teacher/Cantor is from a long line of Cantors. Then there's Alex, a Russian surgeon, now a butcher and his niece Anna, a young beauty who lives with him. She makes a living by modeling nude for art classes. These two families intertwine and drive this sweet offbeat dramatic comedy. 100:00 min.

THIRST Dir. Tawfik Abu Wael 2004 East Coast Premiere

Abu Shukri is so ashamed of his eldest daughter's ill-deserved reputation as a woman of loose morals that he's moved his family into a hovel in the Palestinian desert, far from town. A stern patriarch whose work as a charcoal-burner only just makes ends meet, he insists his son Shukri forego school and help him collect timber from forests run by the Israeli authorities. This tyranny, along with his attitude towards the dishonoured Gamila and his refusal to return to town, provokes the disapproval of his wife Um Shukri. Tempers are frayed; maybe building a pipeline to bring water to their remote home will cool things down a little. 110:00 min
Winner, Jerusalem International Film Festival 2005.

WHAT A WONDERFUL PLACE - Dir. Eyal Halfon 2005 East Coast Premiere

Franco is an ex-cop and family man whose career was ruined by compulsive gambling. He's forced to work off his gambling debt providing muscle, aiding illegal immigrants forced into prostitution and collecting money for a heartless, cruel racketeer. Franco s conscience is re-awakened by a desperate Russian woman he befriends. The film evokes sympathy for foreign workers in Israel and the struggle they have assimilating into Israeli society. 104:00 min.
Best Feature Film Jerusalem Int. Film Festival, Winner Best Film & Best Actor, Israel Film Academy 2005. Israel's entry to the 2005 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

WOLVE'S MOON - Dir. Shay Kanot 2005 U.S. Premiere

A tragic car accident caused by Guy (a rancher who hunts down wolves killing his cattle) cripples his brother Yoav. Sentenced to a year in jail for drunk driving, Guy experiences extreme guilt. Netta, Yoav's ex-girlfriend tries to help Guy face his guilt and falls in love with him. Yoav now a quadriplegic asks Guy after his release to help him die. Guy reluctantly attempts to help his suicidal brother. 81:00 min

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