"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, 2020

Best Israeli Films, Documentaries and TV Series of 2019

Here is my “Best Films” list for 2019! 

Please note that most of these films have been reviewed on this website, and therefore more details are available by clicking on the hot link for each film title.

I have chosen to put the films together by subject matter, and therefore feature films, documentaries and TV series are mixed together!

Happy viewing!

Shedding Light on the Phenomenon of Right-wing Extremists within Israeli Society

·        Incitement, directed by Yaron Zilberman.  Since I have been living in New York for a few months, I haven’t had a chance to see this one, but it is Israel’s Ophir prize winner (like the Israeli Academy awards), so I am including it here.  The film tells the story of Yigal Amir, the Jewish extremist who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv on Nov. 4, 1995.   According to what I’ve read, the film provides a look at this young man’s background and upbringing, and at the same time, it provides a glimpse at contemporary Israeli politics. (Nov. 5, 2019, Times of Israel).
·        Our Boys, a TV series of 10 episodes, created by Hagai Levi, Joseph Cedar and Tawfik Abu-Wael. Focusing on a shocking and repulsive kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenage boy, perpetrated by Jewish terrorists, this TV series deals with serious ethical and political issues within Israeli society. It questions the upbringing these terrorists received as part of their growing up within the religious ultra-orthodox community in Jerusalem. Available for bingeing on HBO or Keshet.
Additional Political Issues
  •          Tel Aviv on Fire directed by Sameh Zoabi. Award-winning feature film which is a superb satire about the absurdity of the Occupation and the humiliation of the checkpoints. 
  •          Advocate, directed by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche.  Documentary story of the veteran human rights lawyer, Leah Tsemel, who has been defending Palestinians since she became a lawyer back in the 1960s.
  •         The Unrecognized directed by Anna Oliker.  Documentary which tells an important story about the issue of the demolition of Bedouin villages in the northern Negev. 
  •          Begin: The Leadership Years, directed by Levi Zini. Fascinating three-part documentary series about the vision and legacy of Menachem Begin.

Post-traumatic Stress
·        When Eagles Fly directed by Omri Givon, based on a novel by Amir Guttfreund. TV series of 10 episodes in Hebrew and Spanish with English subtitles, a complex and gripping thriller about a group of Israeli soldiers who served together in combat during the 2006 Second War in Lebanon. Available for bingeing on Netflix.
  •         Love in Suspenders (Ahavah B'Shleikes) directed by Yohanan Weller. A sentimental romantic comedy about a woman in her 60s who falls in love with a man in his 70s. 
  •        The Mossad directed by Alon Gur Aryeh. A spoof about undercover agents, spies and ridiculous bureaucrats. The story is about a Mossad agent who undertakes to stop a terrorist organization planning to destroy the world.

Gender Issues – Fiction and Non-fiction
·        Working Woman directed by Michal Aviad. A feature film about sexual harassment in the workplace.  This film was also on my 2018 list of “Best Films”, but I have decided to include it here again because it actually received distribution in 2019.
  •         Transkids, directed by Hilla Medalia. Documentary about four trans teenagers who are grappling with their gender identity. 

A Family Story
  •         God of the Piano directed by Itay Tal. An effective and compelling feature film about music, musical talent and a mother’s obsession! 

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