TURN LEFT AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Bay Area Premiere
Director: Avi Nesher
Israel, 2004, English & Hebrew with English subtitles, 108 min (Rate R: nudity and sex)
Set in 1968 in a tiny Israeli village isolated deep in the Negev desert, two immigrant Jewish families, one from Morocco and the other from India, become neighbors. Separated by tradition and language, the families view each other with suspicion until a strike at the local bottling plant and the ensuing games of cricket serendipitously bring the families together. The core of the film is the growing friendship between the families' two daughters, Nicol (Neta Gerti) and Sara (Liraz Charchi).
Last year's highest-grossing Israel feature film, TURN LEFT features an international cast in a movie brimming over with issues of identity, sexuality, and family.
"With its feel good vibes and sympathetic look at rarely discussed immigrant communities in Israel, Avi Nesher's film has humor and charm."
-Jay Weissberg, Variety
Find more at and http://www.endoftheworld.co.il/ and http://www.newenglandfilm.com/news/archives/05march/turnleft.htm
Winner of five Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy)
Director: Joseph Cedar
Israel, 2004, Hebrew w/English subtitles, color, 35mm, 95min (Rate PG-13)
Eshet, Hani Furstenberg, Maya Maron, Moshe Ivgy, Assi Dayan
The year is 1981. Rachel Gerlik a 42 year-old widow, mother of two beautiful teenage daughters, Esti and Tami, wants to join the founding group of a new religious settlement in the West Bank. The problem is that the acceptance committee won't accept her unless she remarries and proves that she and her daughters can meet the group's religious and ideological standards. When Tami, Rachel's youngest daughter, is accused of seducing some boys from her youth movement, Rachel is forced to weigh her alliances. Only Yossi, a 50 year-old bachelor, and the new man in Rachel's life, can show Rachel that being an outcast is not as bad as it seems.
Director Joseph Cedar understates the politics of the settlements and focuses instead on the awakening of a woman struggling with her own needs, those of her family and the pressures of her peers. It is a portrait, although understated, of a political movement that still resonates is present day Israel.
Joseph Cedar on the film:
1981 is the year when most of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank were established. I was 13 then. I grew up in a religious, Zionist family in a Jerusalem neighborhood, the oldest of six children. My teachers, my parents' friends and my friends' parents were mostly considered right wing politically and supported the Settlement Movement that gained momentum then as a reaction to the peace treaty with Egypt and Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai desert.
But unlike today's perception of the settlers as religious and ideological extremists, the settlers of 1981 were mostly middle-class citizens who used the political atmosphere of the time as an excuse to take advantage of what they considered a good real state opportunity, expand their homes and create a sheltered environment for their communal life. Yes, they were idealistic too, but it's hard to imagine the popularity of the settlements without weighing in the quality of life factor as well. Little did they know that twenty years later, driving to their suburban dream home would entail bullet proof vests and a military armed escort. Not to mention two million Palestinian neighbors without basic human rights.
My parents didn't end up moving to a settlement, but many of my good friends did relocate their homes to the hills of Judea and Samaria. As a child I remember feeling disappointed that my parents weren't adventurous enough to take part in this “historical movement.” Today I think it is safe to say that the Settlement Movement did indeed leave its footprints on the history or our region.
I decided to set my film in this context because I wanted to examine the social dynamics behind the ideology and politics. In the beginning of my film Rachel expresses her desire to join the settlement and we know that there is nothing political about this desire, all she wants is to belong to a community. By the end of the story, when Rachel turns her back on the settlement, here too there is nothing political, only an act social independence and personal integrity.
When I think of all the political and ideological ideas that surround me, and effect my life on a daily basis, I sometimes ask myself how much of it is ultimately a result of social dynamics, tribal affiliations, and personal loyalties. My feeling is, and this is the underlying theme of the two films I've made, that ideology is merely a mask covering basic human motivations.
Director: Joseph Cedar on the film.
Find more at http://www.campfiremovie.com
North American Premiere
Director: Dan Turgeman
Israel, 2004, Hebrew w/English sub-titles, 90 min.
A heart warming romantic tale of inopportune love between Tamar (Ayelet Zurer NINA'S TRAGEDIES, DESPERADO SQUARE), a witty, beautiful pastry baker and the oldest of three daughters in a Jewish-Moroccan family, and… her youngest sister's fiancée.
Set against the backdrop of a small MOSHAV (agricultural village) in northern Israel, on the day of the middle-sister's wedding. Maya (Avital Abrajill), the youngest, arrives to the celebration with Alon (Dan Turgeman, producer, screenwriter and actor of MINOTAUR), a sharp Israeli businessman living in London. Alon's enchantment with the close-knit family, the simplicity of village life and serene landscape, opens his heart to an almost unattainable closeness with Tamar, and re-acquaintance with his alienated father.
Mysterious superstitions, Jewish-Moroccan ethnic music and sweet delicacies are intricately knotted into the triangle love affair and the tightly woven relationships.