It’s always the same at Jerusalem’s International Film Festival– a wealth of the world’s best films combined with the latest Israeli releases, all crammed into a 10-day extravaganza of culture, heat,thought-provoking discussions, opportunities to meet directors and contemplating one’s luck at being part of one of the world’s top film events.
The festival provides a fascinating window into Israeli culture–what’s on the minds of Israeli directors, producers and funders. In my informal survey, based on the 14 films I took in as well as heavy perusal of the festival catalog, there’s a continuing move away from the overtly political–both in documentary and feature films.
Dan Wolman’s lyrical Gei Oni (Valley of Fortitude) is the moving story of pioneers settling the land in the late 19th century. Based on a novel by Shulamit Lapid, the narrative moves beyond the predictable, and the cinemtaography is beautifully executed.
A Film Unfinished deservedly won the Van Leer Award for Best Documentary for the incredible research work and courage of director Yael Hersonski who uncovered yet another way of increasing our understanding of the Holocaust.
Micha Shagrir’s Just Like The Queen of England may have an unfortunate (and misleading) title, but the 88 minute documentary about the extraordinary life of French-born David Bergman who experiences WWII as a child is a testament to the film making of this well-known and respected Jerusalem director who accompanies Bergman back to his birthplace.
If travel to Israel is in your plans for next summer, put the 2011 Jerusalem International Film Festival in your calendar and watch the website for exact dates and program.