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24th Israel Film Festival in New York Official Lineup

By Maria Esteves - November 23, 2009

The 24th Israel Film Festival 2009 in New York (NYIFF09) will be held at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23 St.), December 5 - 13, 2009. The festival presented by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., in association with the Consulate General of Israel in New York, annually showcase the largest of Israeli cinema. This year's festival lineup includes over 28 Israeli Academy Award winning and nominee features, documentaries, and student shorts, along with panel discussions, gala receptions, and special presentations (awards, Opening Night, Closing Night).  For further information and to purchase tickets, please call 1.877.966.5566 or visit http://www.israelfilmfestival.com.

 

NYIFF09 Official Lineup:

OPENING NIGHT GALA Awards and Film Presentation, 2009 Israeli Academy award winning film A MATTER OF SIZE, directed by Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor. Director Erez Tadmor to be present. 2009 IFF Opening Night Gala honors actor Elliott Gould with the Lifetime Achievement Award, writer and director Paul Schrader with the Achievement in Cinema Award, and Donald Krim, President of Kino International, with the Lifetime Visionary Award, Saturday, December 5, 8:30 PM.

CLOSING NIGHT GALA Award and Film Presentation, Panavision Audience Choice Award for Best Israeli Feature Film, will be held Sunday, December 13, 2009.

 

NYIFF09 FEATURE FILMS

ADAM RESURRECTED, directed by Paul Schrader. Former Berlin
magician Adam Stein is an enthralling, enigmatic patient at an Israeli
rehabilitation outpost for Holocaust survivors. Stein veers from brilliance to
eroticism, horror, and madness, with flashbacks to the demoralization he
endured under Commandant Klein in the Stellring death camp. Stein appears to have everyone stymied and overawed, but an unusual new patient seems to have the magnetic power to break him free of the grip of his relentless torment. A Special Q&A session with producer Ehud Bleiberg. Israel | 2008 | 2009 IFF Special Presentation.

BRURIAH, directed by Avraham Kushnir.  Bruriah struggles with a childhood trauma: a life of excommunication which was forced on her following the publication of her father's book. Bruriah goes in search of the only surviving copy of the book. Her husband sees her quest as a threat to the way of life that he has created for his family. But Bruriah is unwilling to give up, and the search for the book becomes a crusade during which she faces the compromises she has made in her life, her desires, and her limitations. 2009 IFF Special Guest director Avraham Kushnir. Israel | 2008 | 2009 IFF East Coast Premiere.

FOR MY FATHER, directed by Dror Zahavi.  Terek, a young Palestinian on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv, is given a second chance when the fuse on his explosive vest fails to detonate. Forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv awaiting its repair, Terek befriends several Israelis, including the beautiful Keren, who has cut off contact with her Orthodox family and upbringing. With nothing to lose, Terek and Keren open up to one another, and an unlikely love blooms between two isolated and damaged individuals, raised to be enemies. Israel | 2008  | Israeli
Academy Award nominee
| 2009 IFF East Coast Premiere.

JAFFA, directed by Keren Yedaya. A dramatic story of Mali, who lives with her family in Jaffa, and works with her brother and father at the family owned car repair shop. Mali falls in love with Tauffik, a mechanic in the garage. Despite underlying racism and jealousy that surrounds them, their love affair grows. When Mali finds out she is pregnant, the couple decides to run away and get married abroad. On the morning of the flight, a tragic event reshapes this couple's future. Israel | 2009 | Best Actress Nominee, 2009 Israeli Academy Awards.

KIROT, directed by Danny Lerner. Galia (Olga Kurylenko) longs to escape her life as a Tel Aviv sex worker and reunite with the young daughter she left behind in Ukraine. With the promise of cash and the return of her passport, she is enlisted to commit murders for Tel Aviv heavies Ronnie and Michel. Across the hall lives Elinor (Ninet Tayeb), a grocery-store clerk and battered wife who dreams of fleeing her abusive husband. The two forge a friendship when Elinor tries to teach Galia to curse in Hebrew.  For a few precious hours, the two women forget their exploiters.  2009 IFF Special Guest, producer Ehud Bleiberg. Israel | 2009 | 2009 IFF US Premiere.

MRS. MOSCOWITZ & THE CATS, directed by Jorge Gurvich. Yolanda Moscowitz (Rita Zohar), a retired teacher, wakes up in a hospital geriatric ward, convinced there must be some mistake. She wants to go home immediately. However, the titanium plate in her hip confines her to a wheelchair and to a lengthy convalescence. Nonetheless, Yolanda discovers a new life: she develops a close relationship with Allegra, the solitary woman with whom she shares a room; she confronts Rosie, the head nurse; and when she meets Shaul (Moni Moshonov), a former soccer player, emotions surface that she thought had vanished from her life for good. Like a young woman in love, she does anything to captivate the charming Shaul. When the time comes for her to return home, it's the last thing she wants to do. However, she has no choice and is forced to return to her life of loneliness, with its TV game shows and the cats that wail under her window all night long. Just as she is about to renounce her possessions for the friendship of a caregiver, there is a knock at her door. Israel | 2009 | 2009 IFF US Premiere.

SEVEN DAYS, directed by Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz. The
Ohayon's, seven brothers and two sisters, loose their brother Moris. They are forced to spend seven days of mourning together, unable to leave the house, each one holding a grudge against the others. The film describes the breakdown of the expanded family for personal independence, through the story of each of them, as well as their story as a group. 2009 IFF Special Guest director Shlomi Elkabetz.   Israel | 2008 | 2008 Israeli Academy Award nominee.

SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN, directed by Omri Givon.  For a year, Galia has tended to her own injuries as well as her boyfriends. The event that left him in a coma and her back badly scarred is a blur. Getting on the Jerusalem bus... the explosion... waking up in the hospital... most of Galia's recollections come from the reports of others. But when he finally passes away, never having awoken, Galia realizes that in order to move forward, she must reconstruct this mysterious past and, in particular, that one horrific day.  2009 IFF Special Guest director Omri Givon. Israel | 2008  | 2009 IFF New York Premiere.

ZRUBAVEL, directed by Shmuel Beru.  Itzhak's family emigrated
from Ethiopia to Israel and now makes their home in a poor neighborhood, full of crime and drugs.  Gita, Itzhak's grandfather, successfully protects and
unites the whole family, but a surprising chain of events undermines Gita's
control over his family. The conflict is ignited by the clash of generations,
specifically between the Ethiopian customs cherished by Gita and his wife and the younger generation's desire to assimilate with Israeli culture. 2009 IFF Special Guest director Shmuel Beru. Israel | 2008 | 2009 IFF New York Premiere.

 

NYIFF09 DOCUMENTARY FILMS

ACHZIV, directed by Etty Wieseltier.  Story of Eli Avivi, President of "Achziv Land," from the time of the War of Independence when Eli appropriated a deserted Arab village called A'Ziv. He declared the village as the Independent State of Achziv and up until the present day has remained the colorful and independent ruler of his land despite the authority's perpetual attempts to close him down. 

A HISTORY OF ISRAELI CINEMA, directed by Raphael Nadjari. Presented in two parts, investigates over 70 years of Israeli cinema. The journey begins with the Zionist propaganda of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, establishing Jewish life in Palestine on film. The 60s introduced the fiction era, influenced by European and American cinema. In the late 60s and 70s, Israeli cinema tried to form its unique and local identity, when directors, born and raised in Israel, appeared onstage. During the 80s, Israeli cinema became an important means of political expression. In the 90s and the 2000s, we start hearing a diversity of voices, representing the different cultures forming Israeli society, and the filmmakers begin searching for individual poetic expression. The film includes interviews with filmmakers and researchers from different eras. Israel | France | 2009 |  207 min. | 2009 IFF US Premiere.

A LEGEND IN THE DUNES, directed by Ya'akov Gross.  In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Tel Aviv, Ya'akov Gross presents a new documentary that follows the development of the building of the new city across from the ancient city of Yaffo. Its founders, builders and bohemia who settled there installed a new spirit in the awakening Land of Israel, in times when it was hard to believe the Zionist dream would be fulfilled.  2009 IFF Special Guest director Ya'akov Gross. Israel | France | 2009 | 2009 IFF East Coast Premiere.

THE GREEN DUMPSTER MYSTERY, directed by Tal Haim Yoffe. 
Traveling on his scooter through south Tel Aviv, filmmaker Yoffe noticed an old photograph and some documents inside a green dumpster. This was the beginning of an investigation that slowly unwound a tragic family history beginning in Lodz, and transverses a Siberian Gulag, a Samarkand sugar plant, a kibbutz in Frankfurt, a deserted Arab building in Jaffa, and an absentee IDF soldier somewhere in the sands of the Sinai Peninsula. Just an anonymous family, but a typical Israeli one.  2009 IFF Special Guest director Tal Haim Yoffe.  Israel | 2008 | 2009 IFF East Coast Premiere.

THE MYSTERY OF ARIS SAN, directed by Dani Dotan and Dalia Mevorach.  A journey into the mysterious life of Aris San, the Greek singer who became a megastar in Israel, close friend of generals and politicians, until rumors spread that he was a spy. Aris left for New York and opened a night club where Hollywood stars, politicians, and Mafiosos mingled. His friends included Anthony Quinn, Telly Savalas, Harry Belafonte, as well as the Gallo crime family. His meteoric rise ended with a drug addiction, jail and a mysterious disappearance in Budapest. Israel | 2009 | 1009 IFF East Coast Premiere.

QUEEN KHANTARISHA, directed by Israela Shaer-Meoded. Two Israeli-Yemenite women writers in their sixties: A songwriter and lyricist of love, who also stands behind some of the hottest hits that resonate in Yemeni clubs and weddings, and a Jerusalem-born poet and writer, whose writing, touching on demons, madness, rape, and rebellion, has garnered her community's denunciation. The film explores the personal costs of straddling the ambitions of creative expression and the restraints of conservative communities requiring subservience.  Israel | 2009 | 2009 IFF US Premiere.

THE "SHAKSHUKA" SYSTEM, directed by Ilan Aboody.  Based on the Ofer family, one of the strongest families in the Israeli economy. 2009 IFF Special Guest, journalist Miki Rozental.  Israel | 2009 | Israel Academy ‘Ofir' Award nominee | 2009 IFF East Coast Premiere.

 

TALE OF NICOLAI, directed by David Ofek.  The collapse of Communism puts Nicolai, like thousands of other Romanians, out of work. He leaves his family to earn money in Israel. After three years as a guest worker, tired of giving most of his pay to his employer, Nicolai becomes an illegal. Caught and sent to prison, his life takes an abrupt turn.  Israel | 2008 | 2009 IFF NY Premiere.

VOICE OF JERUSALEM, directed by Ofer Naim.  Those who remember Jerusalem in its splendor have called it the city of gold. It is a city known for its glorious past but bleak future. Thirty six years after the film I Am A Jerusalemite, Yehoram Gaon sets off to find the Jerusalem he left behind. What happened to "Jerusalem of Gold"? Which of the three religions should have the right to control Jerusalem? Maybe this all stems from the "Jerusalem Syndrome" that causes one to lose touch with reality. Have the leaders of Israel and Jerusalem suffered from this syndrome as well? This film attempts to answer many of these questions, talking to a number of the city's residents and through the many songs sung longingly about this city, over time. Israel | 2009 | 2009 IFF US Premiere.

 

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