The Israel Film Festival is rolling in this March 15-29, 2012 here in Los Angeles, CA.
I’ve never been to this festival, now in its 26th year, but leaving the President Peres event we were handed a snazzy newsletter program that highlighted the playlist of films that were going to screen at either the Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills or the Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 in West Hills the end of March.
As I perused the selection, I found the programming to be diverse, which is a good thing. You can’t speak of Israel and not be diverse, so it makes sense that the films would reflect this diversity.
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A smattering of films that seemed interesting and their descriptions are below:
Man Without A Cellphone (dir. Sameh Zoabi) - A young Arab Israeli finds his political voice in this genial comedy about Israel-Palestine tensions. Jawat loves to endlessly call girls on his cell phone while his father, Saleh, is causing a ruckus over a newly constructed cell phone tower near his olive grove. When Jawat’s call to the West Bank draw the attention of Israeli authorities, the young slacker finally takes a stand. (2010, 77 min) Los Angeles Premiere, Feature
Plays at the Fallbrook location Tuesday, March 20 (9:15PM) and Sunday, March 25 (7PM).
Schund (dir. Yael Leibovitz Zand) - A renowned Yiddish actor disappears under criminal circumstances, leaving behind debts, rumors and unrealized promises. 25 years later, the film set out to trail him, passing the colorful and fascinating characters during the country’s first decades, in the days when Yiddish theatre was a huge success, angering the establishment that considered them a threat to the reviving Hebrew culture and trying to suppress it. (2010, 56 min). US Premiere, Documentary
Plays at the Music Hall Saturday, March 17 (6:30PM) and Thursday, March 22 (7:15PM).
~ Dig Yiddish? Live in LA? Check out the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
World Class Kids (dir. Netta Loevy) - “An Arab, a Jew, a Chinese, and a Philippino walk to school…” - sounds like the beginning of a joke, but that’s not the case. This film follows a Tel Aviv class throughout one school-year, dung the Gaza War. With poignant intuition and uninhibited directness, the children point out basic conflicts in Israeli society, deal with painful identity issues, and experience the first cracks in the childhood naivety. (2011, 54 min) West Coast Premiere, Documentary
Plays at the Music Hall Sunday, March 18 (2:30PM), Sunday, March 25 (2:30PM) and Tuesday, March 27 (7:30PM)
[[[Opening Night Film]]] Restoration (dir. Yossi Madmoni) - Winner of 11 Ophir Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Restoration traces the shifting bonds between Yaakov, his son Noah and Anton, the secretive new assistant, as Yaakov and Anton restore a 100 year-old Steinway piano. Major award winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and Jerusalem Film Festival. (2011, 105 min.) Q+A with Producer Chaim Sharir, Los Angeles Premiere. Feature Film
Plays at the Fallbrook Saturday, March 17 (7:30PM)
Don’t forget to check out the Student Short Films playing at this year’s Israel Film Festival, as well.
See also: Breaking News - 26th Israel Film Festival Honors David Nevins, Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa With Achievement in Television Award for “Homeland” (Nevins, Gordon and Gansa will join previously-announced Jonah Hill, who will receive the IFF Achievement in Film Award.) - [02/29/12 - 01:53 PM via press release from Showtime - TheFutonCritic.com]