March 2009

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The Bubble is the story of three young Israelis who illegally hide a Palestinian in their Tel Aviv apartment, will be shown at Temple University on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 PM

Israeli Film Festival of Greater Philadelphia
Prize winning films over seven weeks beginning March 7.

-- Debbie Fleischman

The Israeli Film Festival of Greater Philadelphia presents seven prize-winning films by Israeli filmmakers over a seven-week period beginning March 7 with screenings in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. The Festival is dedicated to showcasing the talents of contemporary Israeli artists and the variety of perspectives they bring to their work.

Advanced ticket sales are available on-line at www.iffphila.com. College and high school students are admitted free. Please call 484-904-5421 for more information.

“We are thrilled to bring the latest crop of prize-winning films from Israel and to expose our audiences to the entertaining and thought provoking productions of the vibrant Israeli film industry,” said Nurit Yaron, Chair of The Israeli Film Festival. “Our aim is to enrich the American view of Israeli culture and society through film.”

The Galilee Eskimos, directed by Jonathan Paz (2007, 99 min., Hebrew with English subtitles)- Saturday, March 21 at 8:30 PM at Gratz College (7605 Old York Road)

The Festival kicks off with Lost Islands, presented on Saturday, March 7 at 8:00 PM at the Gershman Y at Broad and Pine Streets. The winner of four 2008 Israeli Film Academy Awards, Lost Islands, directed by Reshef Levy, is an autobiographical film about a family with clashing tensions of loyalty, love and ambition. Twin brothers Erez and Ofer learned the value of pursuing their dreams from their father and the importance of family devotion from their mother. When they fall in love with the same girl, these ideals are tested as they choose between family and love.

The Festival then moves to the Main Line with The Beetle on Saturday, March 14 at 8:30 PM at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy and The Debt on Sunday, March 15 at 7:00 PM at Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Directed by Yishai Orian, The Beetle is a funny and touching story of one man’s outrageous and perhaps irrational love for his car. The winner of the Audience Award at the HotDocs Festival in Toronto, The Beetle was the Opening Night film for Doc Aviv, Tel Aviv’s prestigious documentary film festival. When Yishai’s wife becomes pregnant she wants him to give up his run-down Volkswagen Beetle. As a confirmed Beetlemaniac, Yishai can not part with his car. He tracks down all the people who had owned, loved and even given birth in his cherished car and sets out for Jordan in the hope of finding a mechanic who will provide a quick, complete and cheap overhaul. With his wife due to give birth within days, Yishai’s road trip forces him to confront his past as he awaits his future.

Directed by Assaf Bernstein and nominated for four awards at the Israel Film Academy, The Debt is an enthralling cat and mouse thriller. Rachel is a retired Mossad agent who published memoirs boasting of how she helped to capture a Nazi war criminal, the Surgeon of Birkenau who was never put on trial but rumored to have committed suicide. Thirty years later, a frail man in a nursing home in the Ukraine claims to be the monstrous surgeon, leaving long-time national hero Rachel with some unfinished business.

The Debt, an enthralling cat and mouse thriller, will screen on Sunday, March 15 at 7:00 PM at Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

The Israeli Film Festival comes to Gratz College on Saturday, March 21 at 8:30 PM with The Galilee Eskimos, directed by Jonathan Paz and winner of the first prize at the Berlin Jewish Film Festival. When a kibbutz tucked in the hills of Galilee goes bankrupt, the men, women and children abandon their homes, shockingly leaving behind a dozen senior citizens to fend for themselves. These feisty older residents, while initially feeling depressed and betrayed by their relatives, begin to regain hope by rebuilding the kibbutz themselves.

The Bubble, the story of three young Israelis who illegally hide a Palestinian in their Tel Aviv apartment, will be shown at Temple University on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 PM. Directed by Eytan Fox, this film examines a different view of young Israeli life, focusing on the love, friendship and music while also looking at the harsh reality of the prejudices encountered by Palestinians and gays in contemporary Israeli culture.

The Little Traitor, directed by Lynn Roth (2007, 90 min., English/Hebrew with English subtitles) - Saturday, April 18 at 9:00 PM at International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

The Israeli Film Festival returns to the Gershman Y on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 PM with Shiva, directed by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz. Set against the backdrop of the first Gulf War when Israel was under the siege of daily missile attacks, Shiva tells of the Ohayon family who gather to mourn the loss of their brother. Forced together for seven days, as they are forbidden to leave the house during the shiva period, the siblings confront their own frustrations and ambitions as old jealousies, financial problems, gossip and long-term rivalries rise to the surface. Shiva is the winner of two 2008 Israel Academy Film Awards and the winner of Best Full-Length Feature Film and Best Actress from the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

The Israeli Film Festival concludes on Saturday, April 18 at 9:00 PM at International House with The Little Traitor directed by Lynn Roth. Based on Amos Oz’s story “Panther in the Basement,” The Little Traitor was the Audience Award winner for Best Feature at the 2008 Palm Beach International Film Festival. The film tells the story of the implausible relationship of an 11-year old Israeli boy who desperately wants the occupying British off his land and British officer, Sergeant Dunlop. The relationship is challenged when the town officials, learning of their secret friendship, accuse the young boy of being a traitor.

For further information, please call 484-904-5421 or go to www.iffphila.com.

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