Dancing Arabs to Open Jerusalem Film Festival 2014

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***Update***Due to the current situation, the opening event of the festival has been postponed for one week, and Dancing Arabs will be screened on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Film Festival will take place as planned from July 10 – 20, 2014.

Dancing Arabs will open the 31st Jerusalem Film Festival on July 10, 2014. Directed by Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree, The Syrian Bride), the screenplay was written by Sayed Kashua, based on his eponymous novel and his third novel, Second Person Singular. The festive screening will take place at the Sultan’s Pool, in the presence of the film’s stars: Tawfeek Barhom, Yael Abecassis, Michael Moshonov, Ali Suleiman, Danielle Kitzis, Marlene Bajali and Norman Issa.

Naomi (Danielle Kitzis) and Eyad (Tawfeek Barhom) in Dancing Arabs/Photo: Eran Riklis
Naomi (Danielle Kitzis) and Eyad (Tawfeek Barhom) in Dancing Arabs/Photo: Eran Riklis

Starring Tawfeek Barhom as Eyad, a boy from an Arab village who is given the opportunity to attend a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem and must then contend with the Jewish-Israeli culture of the late 1980s, the film is certain to generate excitement. Riklis and Kashua are both keen observers of the intricate relationships between Jews and Arabs in Israel, insiders whose gaze is critical, yet full of compassion and attuned to the comic aspects of the situation as well as the tragic. Leaving his home town of Tira to attend a Jewish boarding school, Eyad faces a dilemma: can he be accepted in this new environment without sacrificing his sense of self and culture?

Hiyao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises
Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises

It is a different sort of thrill that accompanies the announcement that Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises will close the festival on July 17, 2014. This film will not only close the festival, it is also the final note of the anime filmmaker’s illustrious career. The Wind Rises is a historical drama based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi (1903 – 1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and Mitsubishi A6M Zero, aircrafts employed by Japan during World War II. Some have wondered why the maker of films like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke, chose to make a film about the designer of weapons of war. Yet the love of flight is such a strong element in Miyazaki’s films, that a film about a boy who yearns to fly and grows up to design planes, feels just right.

The Jerusalem Film Festival will take place from July 10 – 17, 2014 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, and other locations in Jerusalem. The festival will feature over 200 premieres of Israeli and international films. Jerusalem Film Festival and Jerusalem Cinematheque CEO: Noa Regev, Deputy Director: Nir Becher; Jerusalem Film Festival Program Director: Elad Samorzik.