The ‘Casa do Povo’ cultural centre in São Paulo, an icon of the secular Jewish workers’ movement: a crumbling theatre flanked by staircases, entryways and corridors. Construction noise drones away in the background, clinking crockery, a broom sweeping over tiled floors, an expressive façade of countless adjustable panes of glass covered by a patina. It’s October 2016 and a group of young people are preparing a preview of Bickels [Socialism]. The venue is to form a prologue to the completed film, which tours 22 buildings in Israel designed by Samuel Bickels, most of which for kibbutzim. Dining halls, children’s houses, agricultural buildings, bright structures inserted into the Mediterranean landscape with great ingenuity. An architecture with a sell-by date: That many are now empty or have been repurposed at best is linked to the decline of the socialist ideals they embody.
Back to Berlin is the first biker flick-meets-holocaust feature documentary. Eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil. They will retrace the heroic journeys of the original 1930s’ Maccabiah riders and discover how they or their families survived the Holocaust.
The film captures the daily duality of three young Palestinian women in Tel Aviv, caught between hometown tradition and big city abandon, and the price they must pay for a lifestyle that seems obvious to many: the freedom to work, party, fuck, and choose.
Three Jewish teenagers are kidnapped and murdered by Hamas militants in the summer of 2014, leading to the retaliatory killing of 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir and a conflict that forever changes the lives of Jews and Arabs alike.
A beautifully affecting love story that has rightly earned comparisons to Brokeback Mountain, Haim Tabakman’s potent yet impeccably restrained tale has won awards and accolades at film festivals the world over. Aaron, a pillar in Jerusalem’s Orthodox community is respected by friends and family. However, when he hires handsome runaway student Ezri to assist with his business, sexual tensions bristle and the pair cautiously embark on a love affair. Meanwhile, a neighbouring shopkeeper persists in seeing a man of her own choosing, even though she’s been promised by her father to another. As forbidden truths come to the fore, these lovers are forced to either confront or relent in the face of a centuries-old religious community, with startling results.
Amos Gitai returns to the occupied territories for the first time since his 1982 documentary FIELD DIARY. WEST OF THE JORDAN RIVER describes the efforts of citizens, Israelis and Palestinians, who are trying to overcome the consequences of occupation. Gitai’s film shows the human ties woven by the military, human rights activists, journalists, mourning mothers and even Jewish settlers. Faced with the failure of politics to solve the occupation issue, these men and women rise and act in the name of their civic consciousness. This human energy is a proposal for long overdue change.
“On The Map” tells the story of ’77 team, the one that brought the first European Cup to Israel and became “The Team of the Nation” Still demoralized after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel was hungry for a collective uplifting event. “On The Map”, a fast-moving, emotional and awe-inspiring documentary, recounts the story of how one Tel Aviv team no one thought could win toppled the four-time defending European Champions and put Israel firmly on the map. Featuring interviews with the Jewish American athletes who made history, “On the Map” combines the pulsepounding action of a high-stakes game with an incendiary political situation at the height of the Cold War to deliver a film that honors Israeli heroes, mesmerizes fans of the game and captures the spirit of a nation triumphant and victorious against all odds.
A musical drama set in small-town Iowa, SAINTS REST tells the story of two estranged sisters, who over the course of one summer, form a connection through their shared love of music, as they grieve the recent death of their mother.
Five broken cameras – and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements.
Bethlehem tells the story of the unlikely bond between Razi, an Israeli secret service officer, and his Palestinian informant Sanfur, the younger brother of a senior Palestinian militant. Razi recruited Sanfur when he was just 15, and developed a very close, almost fatherly relationship to him. Now 17, Sanfur tries to navigate between Razi’s demands and his loyalty to his brother, living a double life and lying to both men. Co-written by director Yuval Adler and Ali Waked—an Arab journalist who spent years in the West Bank—Bethlehem gives an unparalleled, moving and authentic portrait of the complex reality behind the news.
Victor Perez was a Jewish boxer who became world flyweight champion in 1931 and 1932, but was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp when Paris fell to the Nazi s in 1943. While there he was forced into slave labour and made to participate in violent boxing matches for the amusement of the Nazi guards. Surviving Auschwitz tells Victors astonishing, harrowing, brutal and incredibly moving true story.
LEMON TREE meets JOHN LE CARRÉ in a subtle thriller set in Germany involving Mona, a Lebanese woman (Golshifteh Farahani), and Naomi, an Israeli Mossad agent (Neta Riskin) sent to protect their informant while recovering from plastic surgery for her new identity. Mona and Naomi – together for two weeks in a quiet apartment in Hamburg. A safe house. A shelter. No one saw what was coming, no one knew that this supposedly quiet fortnight would turn into an abyss and that shelter would need to be found elsewhere. The intimacy of the relationship that develops between the two women is exposed to the threat of terror that is engulfing the world today. In this game of deception, beliefs are questioned and choices are made that are not their own. And yet their fate takes a surprising turn in this suspense-laden, elegant neo-noir.
Away from professional stadiums, bright lights, and manicured fields, there’s another side of soccer. Tucked away on alleys, side streets, and concrete courts, people play in improvised games. Every country has a different word for it. In the United States, we call it “pick-up soccer.” In Trinidad, it’s “taking a sweat.” In England, it’s “having a kick-about.” In Brazil, the word is “pelada,” which literally means “naked”—the game stripped down to its core. It’s the version of the game played by anyone, anywhere—and it’s a window into lives all around the world. Pelada is a documentary following Luke and Gwendolyn, two former college soccer stars who didn’t quite make it to the pros. Not ready for it to be over, they take off, chasing the game. From prisoners in Bolivia to moonshine brewers in Kenya, from freestylers in China to women who play in hijab in Iran, Pelada is the story of the people who play.
When Eyal finishes the week of mourning for his late son, his wife urges him to return to their routine but instead he gets high with a young neighbor and sets out to discover that there are still things in his life worth living for.
Goldberg is short and thin. He wears glasses. He’s lonely. He’s a mediocre computer programmer that lives in Tel Aviv and spends most of his energy searching online for a girlfriend. His only friend is Audrey, his beloved female dog. Eisenberg is a thug. Tall, fat, approaching middle age and not completely sane. He spends his days slouching around Meir Park, harassing innocent bystanders and doing business with petty thieves and small-time criminals. Unfortunately the two cross paths, and Eisenberg decides that they should start hanging out. But something in his demeanor says that he wants to be much more than just friends…This is a story about random meetings with strangers that lead to anxiety and paranoia. About lonely people in the big city. About losing control.
A group of friends in a Tel Aviv suburb get together to watch Universong, a Eurovision-like television song contest. They gather to watch and are depressed by the lifelessness of the Israeli entry, a parody of many recent offerings, a flashy, grating song about “amour.” Realizing that Anat is distraught over the crisis in her marriage, they decide to compose a song to cheer her up. As a lark, they enters their cellphone video of it in next year’s contest, and it becomes Israel’s entry.
Doron, a security operative, who takes on one last mission: to capture, number 3 in the terrorist organization of Hezbollah, in Lebanon. With an elite force, Doron enters Lebanon to complete his last mission. Very soon he discovers that reality is not so simple, and that a new and unknown enemy is to be dealt with – and Hezbollah are the last thing on his mind. Doron has to deal with a ticking clock in the form of extensive I.D.F attack and a bloodthirsty enemy, Now that their enemy has changed its face, it’s up to him and his unit to wage a new war, a different war, to find an antidote, get back across the border, before the middle east conflict is changed forever.
A young officer returns to his base after a daring mission. The cook’s assistant, a religious Holocaust survivor, is envious of him. He believes that there is a place in heaven reserved for the brave officer who endangers his life for the sake of his Jewish brethren. The officer, in the spirit of the Zionist ethos, is secular and a non-believer. At the moment, he is so hungry that, for a plate of shaksuka, he is prepared to sign a contract transferring his secured place in heaven to the cook. Some forty years later, the present time of the movie, the tables have turned – the officer, now a retired general, is on his death bed in the hospital. His son who, to his father’s horror, has found religion, is in a race against time. Before his father dies, he has to find that cook’s assistant who, forty years earlier, bought his place in heaven. If and when he finds him, the son has to nullify the contract. If he doesn’t, his father will go to hell.
Morad – a teenager from an Arab village in the north of Israel disconnects himself from humans following a violent attack that he experienced. As a last resort before hospitalization in a Mental Institution, he is taken by his devoted father to be treated with Dolphins in Eilat. Morad starts speaking again after months of silence, but he erases his past and refuses to go home to his awaiting mother. This documentary about the devastating havoc that human violence can wreak upon the human soul, and about the healing powers of nature and of love, was filmed over the course of the past four years.
Filmmaker Talya Lavie steps into the spotlight with a dark comedy about everyday life for a unit of young female Israeli soldiers. The human resources office at a remote desert base serves as the setting for this cast of characters, who bide their time pushing paper, battling for the top score in Minesweeper, and counting down the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Amidst their boredom and clashing personalities, issues of commitment—from friendship to love and country—are handled with humor and sharp-edged wit. In Hebrew with subtitles.
A man arrives to his house in order to notify his wife that he was leaving her, and steps into his own surprise vows renewal party.
Michal is 32 years old. She became religious 12 years ago, and only now is she getting married. A month before the wedding, while checking out the catering for the event, the groom has a change of heart and the wedding is called off. Michal feels she’s unable to go back to ordinary life, to the usual course of matchmaking. She feels this is the moment to change something very basic in her personality. A simple belief that God is good and sweet; that He wants to give and is only waiting for her to wish it. Michal goes on a month-long journey lasting up to the planned wedding day: “I have the venue, the dress, the apartment; God can easily come up with my groom.”
Eighteen-year-old Shira is the youngest daughter of the Mendelman family. She is about to be married off to a promising young man of the same age and background. It is a dream come true, and Shira feels prepared and excited. On Purim, her twenty-eight-year-old sister, Esther, dies while giving birth to her first child, Mordechay. The pain and grief that overwhelm the family postpone Shira’s promised match. Everything changes when a match is proposed to Yochay-Esther’s late husband-to a widow from Belgium. Yochay feels it’s too early, although he realizes that sooner or later he must seriously consider getting married again. When the girls’ mother finds out that Yochay may marry the widow and move to Belgium with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower. Shira will have to choose between her heart’s wish and her family duty. She will find out that the void which she must choose exists only within her heart.