Israeli 2007

Things Behind the Sun

Director: Yuval Shafferman
Israel, 2006.
Hebrew, with subtitles.
Winner, Assi Dayan Best Actor 2006, Israeli Academy, "Ophir" Award, Jerusalem Film Festival.
Length: 110 Min

A debut feature from an emerging young Israeli director. This melodrama peers into the lives of the dysfunctional Grossman family, who are facing reconciliation after the wife’s paintings expose her family’s secrets. A nurse calls from the hospital to say that their elderly father and grandfather, whom they had not seen for 10 years, has taken a turn for the worse. She suggests that it might be a good time to visit. Each family member struggles to find love and intimacy with him while sealing themselves from the others. The youngest daughter does not reveal that she understands the English her parents use in private or that she has begun visiting the hospital. The older daughter conceals her lesbianism – even from herself. The 30-year-old son pretends to participate in life, but stays in his pajamas all day. The husband will not talk about the visits with his father, whose death seems suddenly less imminent. The wife, an artist on the verge of her long-awaited first major show, has not told her family how she used them in various nude forms in her art. No one discusses the reasons that the man in the hospital, once an integral part of the family, has been estranged from them for so long. As the family members begin to talk, they reveal their hidden information? The process by which the pretenses dissolve is entertaining and fascinating, without a single morbid moment.

Frozen Days

Director: Danny Lerner
Israel, 2005.
Hebrew, with subtitles.
Winner of the 2005 Israeli Film Competition "Best Film Award" in the Haifa International Film Festival; nominated in 2006 for Best Actress and Best Cinematography awards of the Israeli Film Academy.
Length: 90 Min

This low-budget black-and-white psychological thriller is the debut film of a talented young director and his film students. Unusual for Israeli films, it is cinematically inventive, integrating style, plot, and considerable knowledge of moviemaking. The roots of the story go deep into the lives of the youth of Tel Aviv. Meow is a young woman and small-time drug dealer who's tough, reclusive, and emotionally closed off. She roams the streets and nightclubs of Tel Aviv. She lives in empty apartments and surfs Internet chat rooms. Her only relationship with the outside world is through cellular phones, chat forums, and SMS messages. She decides to meet Alex, her chat buddy. They plan to meet in a nightclub, but a suicide bombing prevents it. She survives the attack and, after finding Alex in the hospital in a coma, she moves into his empty apartment. Gradually, the tenants start referring to her as Alex, and the identity of the wandering woman begins to fade; the dangerous delusion that follows sends the once-carefree woman traveling down an increasingly treacherous path.

with "A Conversation with Anat Klausner"

On a recent visit to San Jose, San Jose Film Festival's Lorin Fink talked with the star actress of "Frozen Days", Anat Klausner, about the film, her powerful performance, and where she sees Israeli film and her career going in the near future.

Director: Lorin Fink
Length: 8 minutes

Avi, Avi

Director: Avi Lev
Israel, 2006.
English, Hebrew, with subtitles.
Filmed in Canada and Israel.
Length: 71Min

Only one degree of separation—the saying goes that any two Israelis can instantly zero in on at least one common friend. This poetic revelatory and life-affirming documentary is a story about a filmmaker and a painter, each named Avi, who meet for the very first time in snowy Toronto. They become fast friends and discover shared nightmares and a youthful fantasy. They embark on a transformative journey back to Israel to explore and to make their fantasies, long thought impossible, come true. Their quest returns them to the sights and sounds of their homeland, to the competing voices of God, culture, and progress. Using Avi’s paintings as an expository device, Avi the painter and Avi the filmmaker reveal their personal landscapes to each other. How each experiences the other shatters our preconceptions of present-day Israel and Israelis around the globe. A "must-see" for every Israeli who lives abroad.


Director & Co-writer: Ari Sandel
USA, 2006.
English Hebrew, Arabic, with subtitles.
Winner, Oscar Best Short Action Film 2007; an official selection of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
Length: 20 Min

This hilarious short movie is a mock musical that parodies the situation in the Middle East. It's a parody of West Side Story, set in the Israel-Palestine context. It gets everything right, from the songs to the craziness of Middle East politics and allegiances! This movie helps make people laugh despite the serious nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The movie features a star-crossed love affair between an Israeli soldier, David, and a Palestinian woman, Fatima. This love cannot be because their families operate dueling snack stands, Hummus Hut and Kosher King. Tensions mount when the Kosher King's new pastry machine juts onto the Hummus Hut’s property. The Palestinians ruin the machine and the Israelis respond by building a wall between the two eating establishments. The couple profess their love for each other, triggering a chain of events that destroys both restaurants and forces all to find common ground in an effort to rebuild, planting a seed of hope.

Three Mothers

Director: Dina Zvi-Riklis
Israel, 2006.
Hebrew, Arabic, and French with subtitles.
Starring Gila Almagor and Rivka Raz.
Winner of the Special Prize Award at the 2006 Jerusalem Film Festival.
Length: 106 Min

Alexandria 1942: Two excited new parents, wealthy Egyptian-Jews, welcome King Farouk into their home. The king comes to bless their new daughters, baby triplets. The triplets, who had been living a charmed life, suddenly lose their mother in one of the epidemics that swept Alexandria. Later, when the political fortunes change in Egypt, they are forced to leave their riches behind and immigrate to Israel with their father. Sixty years later, the turbulent events of their extraordinary lives have clouded the sisters’ relationships with secrets and lies. In a final attempt to clear their guilty consciences, they confront their ghosts and memories to seek forgiveness. "Three Mothers" is an emotionally charged and tender drama about "sisters who stuck together and sacrificed their husbands and children for their love for each other, because they had no other way." This film is a stunningly beautiful, evocative tale of family relationships at their best and worst.


Director: Avener Levona

A humorous short documentary highlighting the central roles that falafel stands serve for Israelis and Jews at home and abroad.

Length: 11 Min

Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival *