"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.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Student Shorts

I love recommending student films because they are a reflection of what issues and subjects are important to young Israelis today.  This collection of short dramas by film students at the Sam Spiegel Film and TV School in Jerusalem is distributed by RuthDiskin. 

  • ·         Tateh by Yaniv Linton (short drama, 24 min., 2012)

A touching and intimate tale about the relationship between a grown man and his father.  In this case, the grown man is a Bratslav hassid, driving around in his van, spreading the message of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav.  He receives a phone-call  that sends him on a journey and he goes to reconnect with his father on the kibbutz where he grew up.  A small moment of intimacy and reconciliation provides a strong ending. 

  • ·         How I Killed Rabin by Michael Alalu (short drama, 17 min., 2012)

A tale about growing up during a period of great national drama.  The story is about an adolescent boy in Jerusalem -- his struggles and angst portrayed on the background of the night of Rabin's assassination.  The film uses an interesting technique of the adolescent talking to himself and it provides insight into how each of us sees an event through our own perspective. We see the boy in his youth movement (HaShomer Hatzair), follow him with the girl that he likes, and learn about his obsessions and fears.  Finally, we travel with him and his family to the big peace demonstration in Tel Aviv, that night in November 1995, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot.

  •           Papercuts by Gilad Deutsch (short drama, 13 min., 2013)

Boy meets girl on the Haifa Carmelite (funicular).  Even though they are both lonely and unhappy souls, a relationship is born.  A compelling story. 

  • ·         Tormus by Sari Bisharat (short drama, 14 min., 2013)

A 16-year-old boy from an Arab village wants to earn money. He takes his grandfather's old cart, and with the help of his younger brother, he sets out to try to sell beans which his mother has prepared.  Not having a lot of success in their village, they try to sell at a nearby community where the Jews are willing to pay more for Arab food.  Everything is going well until the city inspector asks for their license.

  • ·         Driver by Yehonatan Indursky (short drama, 30 min., 2011)

A touching portrait of three people -- a haredi  (ultra-orthodox) man who drives around two lost souls in an attempt to help them.  The entire film takes place within the car during one evening.  He's driving a man from apartment to apartment, where he's schnoring (begging for) money because the man is dying of a disease and wants to be sure that his seven children will be cared for.  In the back seat is a woman who is obviously having trouble with her husband.  

  • ·         Diploma by Yaelle Kayam (short drama, 20 min., 2009)

In Hebron, a young Palestinian woman is graduating from the local college and wants to go to her graduation ceremony.  There is a curfew because it's the Jewish holiday of Purim, so she sets out with her younger brother to accompany her.  Brother and sister go over the rooftops and down narrow alleyways to try to get to their destination.  At first there is tension between them.    But after they are stopped by an Israeli Army patrol and as their dangerous adventure continues, they share a moment of real companionship.

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