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Worlds apart at the AFI film fest

by Dikla Kadosh

November 19, 2007 | 5:05 pm

Though the frenzied AFI Film Festival ended more than a week ago (Nov.11), I still find myself pondering the two film screenings I attended. The films (and screenings) could not have been more radically different:

“Look” is a film by Adam Rifkin, a seasoned writer-producer-director-actor with an eclectic filmography that includes “Homo Erectus,” “Detroit Rock City,” and “Welcome to Hollywood.”

“The Quest for the Missing Piece” is Israeli Oded Lotan’s first stab at filmmaking.

Attendees started lining up to see the sold-out Thursday night screening of “Look” an hour and a half before the scheduled 9:30 p.m. showtime.

Roughly a dozen viewers strolled into the theater for the Friday afternoon screening of “The Quest.”

“Look” is a polished, dark drama composed of various intertwining stories told through a clever gimmick - all the scenes are shot from the point of view of public surveillance cameras -  that raises questions about a modern technological phenomenon.

“The Quest” is a quirky low budget autobiographical tale peppered with illustrations of key moments that raises questions about an ancient Jewish tradition - circumcision.

“Look”: zero Jewish content.

“The Quest”: all Jewish content.

“Look” will be out in theaters in December.

You may never have a chance to view “The Quest for the Missing Piece.”

The one thing these dissimilar cinematic creations shared was an ability to invade my thoughts long after the popcorn was swept from the Arclight’s aisles. The sordid behavior “caught” on tape in “Look,” the knowledge that the average American is viewed 200 times a day on public cameras, Oded’s sorrowful inability to find his place in society as a gay Jew in Israel, the small but growing movement of Israelis who refuse to circumcise their sons…it all left me with an unsettling feeling that I still cannot articulate clearly.

I commend AFI for their widely diverse film choices, many of which I did not have a chance to see, and very much look forward to being unsettled again next year.

www.afi.com

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