Jerusalem Film Festival 2024: Israeli Films

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The 41st Jerusalem Film Festival announces its lineup of Israeli films, a bountiful harvest that includes features, documentaries, short films, and experimental cinema. The festival will take place from July 18 – 27, 2024, headed by the Jerusalem Cinematheque CEO and Jerusalem Film Festival Executive Director Roni Mahadav-Levin, Outgoing Artistic Director Elad Samorzik, and Incoming Artistic Director Or Sigoli.

A special screening of The Smile of the Lamb (1986), directed by Shimon Dotan, will be presented in a digitally restored print at the festival by the Israel Film Archive. Based on a novel by David Grossman, the film focuses on three characters, each reflecting from a different perspective the futility and dangers of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. Katzman (Makram Khoury) is an officer who used to advocate for “enlightened occupation” but the passage of time and the surrounding military culture have desensitized him and taught him to tolerate the injustices of the situation. His good friend Laniado (Rami Danon) is a military doctor, whose job title embodies the absurdity of the situation. The central character Hilmi is portrayed by Tuncel Kurtiz, who was awarded the Silver Bear at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival for his performance. After Hilmi’s adopted son turned to terrorism and was shot by security forces, Hilmi takes Dr. Laniado hostage and threatens to kill him if Israeli forces do not leave the West Bank within 24 hours.

The Smile of the Lamb/Photo: Dani Sneor

The Jerusalem Film Festival will screen 8 films in the Haggiag Competition for Feature Films, 8 films in the Diamond Competition for Documentary Films, 17 films in the Diamond Competition for Short Films, 1 Documentary as a special screening, 8 films in the Israeli Video Art and Experimental Film Competition, a digitally restored print of Shimon Dotan’s The Smile of the Lamb (1986), and films participating in the Wim van Leer Competition for High School Students.

Haggiag Competition for Best Israeli Feature

Of Dogs and Men/Photo: Dani Rosenberg

OF DOGS AND MEN

Director: Dani Rosenberg (The Death of Cinema and My Father Too, The Vanishing Soldier); Production: Itay Tamir, Alexander Rodnyansky; Screenplay: Dani Rosenberg; Cast: Ori Avinoam

16-year-old Dar sets out early in the morning to her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz to look for her dog, who was lost during the terror attack on October 7.  World Premiere

Eid/Photo: Idan Sasson

EID

Director: Yousef Abo Madegem; Production: Deux Beaux Garcons, Daroma Productions; Screenplay: Yuval Aharoni; Cast Shadi Mari, Hisham Suliman

Eid is a young Bedouin from Rahat who was sexually attacked as a child. His dream is to create theatre. When his parents announced that they have arranged a marriage for him, Eid fights for his freedom and for the hope to create within the bounds of family and the culture in which he lives. Debut feature. Israeli premiere.

Irit Sheleg in Omer Tobi’s Tropicana/Photo: Philippe Lavalette

TROPICANA

Director: Omer Tobi; Production: Hila Medalia, Gil Sima, Paul Cadieux; Screenplay: Omer Tobi; Cast: Irit Sheleg, Rivka Bachar, Amir Ishhar, Ilanit Ben Yaacov, Lirit Balaban, Rinat Mattatov, Regina Spector, Dover Kosashvili, Michael Levy, Uri Hochman, Dalia Beger

Orly, a lonely, middle-aged woman, divides her time between the monotony of her job as a supermarket cashier, and her alienated family. A mysterious incident involving the murder of the head cashier sends Orly on a journey into the depths of her repressed passions, exposing her desire for human warmth and intimacy.

The Milky Way/Photo: Ella Barak

THE MILKY WAY

Director: Maya Kenig (Off-White Lies); Production: Ines Daien, Maya Fischer, Gal Greenspan, Roi Kurland, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery, Alona Refua, Roni Shamiss, Shani Sror, Yael Fogel; Screenplay: Maya Kenig; Cast: Hila Ruah, Hadas Yaron, Tali Sharon, Samira Saraya, Maayan Turgeman, Simor Daniel, Evgeny Molibiga, Orly Feldheim

Tala is a broke musician and young mother who has just had her first baby. To support her daughter, she begins working for the “Milky Way,” a shiny, modern, dairy for breast milk, as she learns what it means to be a mother. Israeli Premiere

Highway 65/Photo: Vered Adir

HIGHWAY 65

Director: Maya Dreifuss (She is Coming Home); Production: 2-Team Productions, United King Films; Screenplay: Maya Dreifuss; Cast: Tali Sharon, Ido Amedi, Sara von Schwartze, Dikla, Boaz Conforty, Anastasia Fain, Igal Naor

A young woman disappears on a hot summer’s day in Afula, but no one in her family is looking for her. Only Daphna, the police investigator, refuses to let the matter rest, and is determined to solve the mystery. Israeli premiere.

Come Closer/Photo: Shai Peleg

COME CLOSER

Director: Tom Nesher; Production: Haim Mecklberg, Estee Yacov-Mecklberg, Domenico Procacci, Laura Paolucci, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery, Anthony Bregman, Oren and Omer Rogovin, Omri and Karni Bezalel, Tomer Mecklberg; Screenplay: Tom Nesher; Cast: Lia Elalouf, Dary Rosenn, Netta Garti, Jacob Zada Daniel, Shlomi Shaban, Ido Tako, Ofek Pesach, Yael Shoshana Cohen

The sudden death of Eden’s younger, beloved, brother leads her to try to fill the void that has opened up in her life. She discovers that her brother had a secret girlfriend and with her embarks on a dangerous, complex, emotional journey. First Prize in Tribeca’s Viewpoints, Israeli premiere.

Neither Day Nor Night/Photo: Ziv Berkovich

NEITHER DAY NOR NIGHT

Director: Phinehas Veuillet; Production: Marek Rozenbaum, Michael Rozenbaum, Yonatan Rozenbaum; Screenplay: Phinehas Veuillet, Aharon Israel; Cast: Eli Menashe, Adam Hatuka Peled, Maayan Amrani, Shmuel Vilozny, Maya Cohen, Dorit Lev Ari

Rafael is a brilliant student, yet is not admitted to a prestigious, Ashkenazi Yeshiva. His French Sepharadic parents, newly religious, try to change the decree, but a tragic accident impacts both the family and the surrounding religious community. Debut film.

Youthful Grace/Photo: May Abbadi

YOUTHFUL GRACE

Director: Yuval Shani; Production: Efrat Cohen; Screenplay: Yuval Shani; Cast: Ido Tako, Morris Cohen, Hila Vidor, Adam Gabbay, Swell Ariel Or, Hithan Omari

Amir and Eliyahu, teenagers living on the periphery of Jerusalem, are each trying to survive in a world without functioning adults. An encounter between the two, on the eve of Passover, will lead them on an unexpected journey. Debut film.

The Diamond Competition for Israeli Documentary Films

WANT A HEART? by Natan Rushansky

DESERT LAWS by Ilan Moskovitch, Dan Bronfeld

ACCLAIMED AND ASHAMED – THE STORY OF YAMIN MESSIKA by Yaniv Segalovich

THE GOVERNOR by Danel Elpeleg

ADA – MY MOTHER, THE ARCHITECT by Yael Melamede

TABOO: AMOS GUTTMAN by Shauly Melamed

STRANGE BIRDS by Shakked Auerbach

JACOB DE HAAN: A VOICE OUT OF TIME by Zvi Landsman

Out of Competition:

THE VILLAGE LEAGUES by Tal Michael, David Ofek

 The Diamond Competition for Israeli Short Films

CHOLERA (Jenya Maley) NOTHING SPECIAL (Efrat Berger) ELISHA (Noam Weizman) MYTHOS (Omer Melamed) THINGS THAT HAVE NO NAME (Rachel Shatz) BASELINE (Atalya Navon) HEART HUG | Обіруч (Rimma Gefen and Nika Zhukova) PARALLELS (Itamar Lubanov) PINES (Gil Peled) MIRROR’S IMAGE (Naama Lahav) MIDNIGHT RED (Jalal Masarwa) LAYERS (Klil Kovesh) KOSHER TEST (Riki Rotter) PISCES (Lee Dror) HIDE & SEEK (Ran Baruch) A STATE OF ABSENCE (Mlk Al Halabi) FRENCH (Dylan Joseph)

The Israeli Video Art and Experimental Film Competition

 RUSTLE (Yasmin Davis) ADAM (Amir Yatziv) I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE APOCALYPSE, I’M AFRAID YOU DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE (Leila Erdman – Tabukashvili) RUNWAY FREEFALL (Alona Rodeh) CAN’T WAIT TO DIE | 死ぬのが待ちきれない (Akim Dolinsky) LITTLE BONEY AND HIS WINTER EXTINGUISHER (AT LAST!) (Jonathan Omer Mizrahi) PLANET OF LUCK (Roy Menachem Markovich) WHO AM I WITHOUT MY STORY (Shalom Hai)

The full program and additional information may be found on the Jerusalem Film Festival website.

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