37th Jerusalem Film Festival to Open August 20, 2020

Late Marriage/Photo courtesy of Transfax Film Productions

***UPDATE***The Jerusalem Film Festival announced a change in dates due to the recent extreme rise in COVID-19 cases, and the ensuing new restrictions. Ceasing operations on the festival scheduled to take place from August 20 – 30, the festival management has decided to hold a winter edition of the festival between December 10 – 20, 2020. See the full announcement here: https://www.midnighteast.com/mag/?p=51877


The 37th edition of the Jerusalem Film Festival will take place this year from August 20 – 30, at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. In a bold move by the festival team, this will not be an online event; it will be a festival just like in the good old pre-pandemic days, with films on screen and people sitting in the theatre to watch them. Exciting! One of the peak cultural events in Israel, the festival was originally scheduled to take place in July, but was postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Now that restrictions on gatherings have been eased in Israel, the festival will be held in late August, in compliance with the health guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the local authorities. Dr. Noa Regev, the director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Jerusalem Film Festival, affirmed their commitment to their audience – who, she said, are “no doubt yearning to venture beyond their homes and return to the cinema and cultural life” – as well as to the filmmakers and their new films.

The Jerusalem Film Festival is also taking part in We Are One: A Global Film Festival, an exciting collaboration between the world’s leading film festivals, including Berlin, Cannes, Venice, and Sundance. Organized and produced by Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube, the online festival will feature 10 days of films, from May 29 – June 7, 2020. The program includes over 100 films from 35 countries, curated by the participating festivals, as well as conversations with industry members such as Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Soderbergh, and Bong Joon-ho. The films will be shown on the YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/WeAreOne and will be accessible to all, free of charge. The full schedule may be found on the We Are One website: http://www.weareoneglobalfestival.com/

The Jerusalem Film Festival will focus on Israeli films and filmmakers in its program for We Are One. Dover Kosashvili’s debut film Late Marriage (2001), one of several films that marked a turning point in Israeli filmmaking, will be shown, introduced by Kosashvili and the film’s lead actor, Lior Ashkenazi. The Israeli program will also include a masterclass with Nadav Lapid, whose film Synonyms was awarded the Golden Bear at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival.

Losing Alice/Photo: Rotem Yaron, Dori Media Dorset

Viewers can look forward to the world premiere of Losing Alice, the new 8-part series produced by HOT, and directed by Sigal Avin. In this psychological thriller Alice, a film director whose greatest fame is already in the past, befriends a talented young screenwriter. As the story is inspired by Faust, I would expect events to take a very dark and destructive turn.

Love Chapter 2/Photo: Andrea La Cora

Love Chapter 2 documents the choreography of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar as performed by the dancers of their company L-E-V. My take on Killer Pig (link to Midnight East review), another work of Eyal-Behar’s, offers a sense of their choreographic style: “Watching Eyal’s choreography I often feel that there is something very tribal and primal…The dancers are like an army of naked, sweaty soldiers, yet each is intensely individual, and the effect is mesmerizing. Eyal exudes a languid, long-limbed sensuality that is expressed in her choreography, and embodied in the dancers.” Enjoy!