"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.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Best of Israeli Cinema 2013

At the conclusion of each year, I offer a list of my top films of the year -- this year, the list includes 9 features (7 Israeli and 2 foreign) and 5 documentaries (one foreign).  
Note that all of the films listed here are hot-linked to their previous reviews on this blog! 

Feature films   
During the year 2013, I reviewed numerous feature-length fiction films which opened in Israeli movie theaters.  From that list, I have chosen what I consider to be those most worthy of your attention --

  • Bethlehem by Yuval Adler is a suspense-packed thriller about the relationship between a Palestinian informant and his Shin Bet handler
  • Rock the Casbah by Yariv Horowitz, about the issues and difficulties of policing the local Palestinian population in the streets of Gaza
  • Zaytoun by Eran Riklis is a compelling road movie about the tentative relationship that slowly develops between a hardened  fighter pilot and a wily Palestinian 12-year-old boy
  • Youth by Tom Shoval, about two brothers who, when their father is fired from his job, decide to take matters into their own hands.

and three features shot on the background of Jerusalem -- 

  • Wonders by Avi Nesher is a complex thriller/romance/comedy about an ultra-orthodox rabbi who works wonders 
  • Hunting Elephants by Reshef Levy is a bank heist comedy
  • Present Continuous by Aner Preminger is a moving psychological portrait of a woman in crisis (distributed by Go2Films)

In addition, there were are two foreign features which are on my "best" list --

  • The Attack by Lebanese director, Ziad Doueiri, is an eye-opening story about a respected Palestinian Israeli doctor who is shocked to discover that he is intimately associated with the perpetrator of a suicide bombing
  • Zig Zag Kid by Vincent Bal, is a wonderful romp -- an adolescent's adventure story based on a David Grossman novel

Best Documentaries of 2013 
I have also reviewed a number of extraordinary Israeli documentary films during this past year.  My favorites are --

  • Bureau 06 by Yoav Halevy, the personal story of the team of police investigators who worked tirelessly in preparation for the Eichmann trial (available from JMT films)
  • · Fading Valleyby Irit Gal, about the politics of water resources in the Jordan Valley, available from Ruth Diskin Films
  • · Israel:  A Home Movie by Eliav Lilti and Arik Bernstein, the stirring story of the history of Israel based on home movie footage (available from Go2Films)
  • ·The Lesson by Anat Zuria, is a compelling look at the personal story of a religious Muslim woman living in Jerusalem (available from Go2Films)

and one foreign production -- 

  • ·Dancing in Jaffa by Hilla Medallia, about breaking barriers between Jewish and Palestinian youngsters in Jaffa (available from Go2Films)

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