"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.


Monday, September 19, 2016

My Favorite Classics

If you have missed any of these Israeli film classics, the upcoming holiday season might be a time to catch up!  This is NOT an all-inclusive list, but it does provide you with one-stop shopping!  All of these classic Israeli films are highly recommended.

These great classics are available from the National Centerfor Jewish Film 

  • ·        Blind Man’s Bluff, Aner Preminger, 1993 – the story of a professional young woman who must learn to live not only by the expectations of others but also according to her own needs.
  • ·        House on Chelouche St., Moshe Mizrachi, 1973 – the story of a teenage boy coming of age, set against the background of tension and conflict during the period of the British Mandate, immediately before the War of Independence.
  • ·        I Love You Rosa, Moshe Mizrachi, 1972 – nominated for an Oscar, a love story set during the late 19th century in Jerusalem.
  • ·        Kazablan, Menahem Golan, 1973 – fast-paced, full-fledged musical, highlighted by scenes of marvelously choreographed frenetic dancing, which tells the story of an immigrant from Morocco living in the old slum of Jaffa.

In addition, I recommend these one-hour films also from the collection of the National Center for Jewish Film
  • ·        Documentary: Green Dumpster Mystery, Tal Haim Yaffe, 2008 -- In an ostensibly light tone, which balances the serious subjects in the film -- history and memory, Holocaust and bereavement -- the film tells the story of the director himself, who as he rode his scooter through south Tel Aviv, found a stash of old photographs in a dumpster.  In the wake of this find, he sets out on a quest to find the people in the photos. 
  • ·        Short Drama: As If Nothing Happened, Ayelet Barger, 1999 – hard-hitting film about what happens in one family following a terrorist attack.

These are available from the IsraeliFilms website

  • ·        Cup Final, Eran Riklis, 1991 – takes place during the 1982 War in Lebanon and explores the themes of male bonding during wartime, and the relationship between captor and captive.
  • ·        Fictitious Marriage (Marriage of Convenience), Haim Bouzaglo, 1988 – explores issues of identity and distrust between Arabs and Jews, a satire containing humorous caricatures of people who want to be what they are not. 
  • ·        Halfon Hill Doesn’t Answer, Assi Dayan, 1976 – featuring the Gashash comedy trio, this is a comedy about reserve duty.
  • ·        He Walked Through the Fields, Yosef Milo, 1967 – Originally presented as a stage play in 1948, tells the story of the heroism of the Palmach generation and the pioneering ethic of self-sacrifice. 
  • ·        Late Summer Blues, Renen Schorr, 1987 – a sensitive coming-of-age story which portrays the issues of graduating from high school in an atmosphere of ongoing war. 
  • ·        Life According to Agfa, Assi Dayan, 1992 – Set in a Tel Aviv pub, this apocalyptic satire portrays a violent nightmare that takes place as a result of society’s ills.
  • ·        Passover Fever, Shemi Zarhin, 1994 – authentically evoked drama about the dysfunctional family that one might find anywhere at holiday time. 
  • ·        Summer of Aviya, Eli Cohen, 1988 – internationally acclaimed drama about a child growing up with a mother who is forever tortured by her Holocaust memories, and its sequel, Under the Domim Tree, Eli Cohen, 1995—portrays the painful struggles of a group of survivor children all living together in a boarding school. 
  • ·        A Tale of Love and Darkness, Natalie Portman, 2015 -- based on the autobiographical book by Amos Oz about his growing up in Jerusalem during the end of the British Mandatory period and the early years of the state. 
  • ·        Tel Aviv Stories, Ayelet Menahemi and Nirit Yaron, 1992 – three short stories about women.  The third story, Divorce (Get), is about a woman willing to resort to desperate means in response to anachronistic rabbinic laws.
  • ·        The Troupe (Sing Your Heart Out), Avi Nesher, 1979 – a musical comedy about the army entertainment troupe.
  • ·        The Wooden Gun, Ilan Moshenson, 1979 – a deep psychological struggle is portrayed through the games of children, on the backdrop of the period following independence.
  • ·        Walk on Water, Eytan Fox, 2004 – internationally acclaimed film about the emotional baggage that an Israeli Mossad agent carries as a result of his ongoing work. 
  • ·        Yana’s Friends, Arik Kaplun, 1999 – takes place against the backdrop of the Gulf War, portrays a variety of quirky characters and reflects the difficulties of new immigrants in a foreign land.

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