"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Films for Selichot

I am often asked for films for the period of Elul and the evening of Selichot -- so I have added another subject area on this blog -- films that I recommend for this period of the year -- for soul-searching, for adding meaning to our Jewishness, films mixing the personal and the national, and films about how we treat others.

Among this year's films, I highly recommend Clementine, which I reviewed recently.

In addition, I am adding a not-so-new film to the list -- HaMakom.

This TV drama is about helping those in need. Once this was more natural, when we lived in small towns or communities. Now however that we mostly live in the big city and the race after money seems to be our main priority, have we lost our most basic values?

In this short drama (50 minutes), Morris (Rami Danon) is an elderly gentleman, who owns a run-down café in Ashkelon which isn't paying the bills. As a result, Morris is heavily in debt. His daughter resents all the work she has done for him over the years and the fact that she gets nothing in return. His two grand-daughters are very different from each other – Adi (Dana Ivgi) who lives and works in Ashkelon and the other, Mazie (Tali Sharon), a fancy lawyer from Tel Aviv.

When Mazie hurries to Ashkelon to try to force her grandfather to sell the café in order to cover his debts, he teaches her the meaning of God's question from the Book of Genesis, "Where art thou?" Morris asks the question a bit differently – Who are you and where is your place in this world?

The story of the film focuses on Mazie and her personal transformation as she learns about her grandfather's great compassion – as evening comes, his café turns into a soup kitchen, a haven for the needy, as he offers his "guests" a place of their own to congregate and have dinner.

This drama is directed by the husband and wife team, Lena and Slava Chaplin, and created by Yuval and Odette Orr and Orly Ben-Nun. The film is available from Transfax.

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