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🎥2020 Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema
May 17 @ 8:00 AM - May 26 @ 5:00 PM
A MATTER OF SIZE
Comedy. 2009. 90 min. Directed by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon. Starring Itzik Cohen (Fauda), Dvir Benedek (Wounded Land), Levana Finkelstein (The Farewell Party, The Kind Words), Evelin Hagoel (The Women’s Balcony), Irit Kaplan (Apples from the Desert) and Togo Igawa (Star Wars). Winner of three Ophir Awards, including Best Director(s). In Hebrew and Japanese with English subtitles.
A hilarious and heart-warming tale about a coming out of a different kind: four overweight guys who learn to love themselves through the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. Herzl (Itzik Cohen) has been struggling with his weight ever since he was young, and his overbearing mother made it no easier on him. His friends Aharon and Gidi struggle with the issue of weight in their personal lives as well, so when Herzl is introduced to sumo at his job at a Japanese restaurant, all are open to a sport where large people are honored and appreciated. However, Herzl’s dedication to this demanding men-only sport threatens his budding relationship with Zehava, a plus-size social worker.
BORN IN JERUSALEM AND STILL ALIVE
Romantic black comedy. 2019. 83 minutes. Directed by Yossi Atia and David Ofek. Starring Yossi Atia, Lihi Kornowski and Itamar Rose. Winner, Best Israeli Film, Jerusalem Film Festival. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
When he isn’t taking care of his elderly father, Jerusalem native and lifelong resident
Ronen Matalon offers free guided tours of famous terror attack sites from the 1990s and 2000s along Jaffa Road. During one of his tours, he meets Asia Mulan, and ex-Jerusalemite who moved to Barcelona. Struck by her thirst for life, he falls in love with her, but is he ready to heal from the emotional trauma of his youth?
CHILDREN OF THE SUN
Documentary. 2007. 70 min. Directed by Ran Tal. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Winner of the Ophir Award for Best Documentary.
A group of men and women, born in the mid-1930s, talk about being raised on kibbutzim. They were to become the new Zionists—social equals, strong of body and spirit, communal dwellers with little personal ownership and a keen group consciousness. Interspersing recent interviews with rare archival footage and amateur films shot over 40 years, director Tal weaves a complex tapestry of their lives—from early separation from their parents, to pre-teen and young adult camaraderie, to voices of experience reflecting on the experiment of which they were a part.
FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM
Documentary. 2019. 84 min. Directed by Arkady Kogan. In Russian and Hebrew with English subtitles.
No single person symbolizes Refuseniks, Soviet Jews who fought against anti-Semitism and for their freedom, more than Natan Sharansky, our very special guest at the 2019 Festival. From Slavery to Freedom follows this human rights activist/author/politician/Jewish Agency leader/Israeli Prize Laureate/ 2020 Genesis Prize Winner and recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom from 1977—when he was arrested on charges of spying for the U.S., treason and anti-Soviet agitation—through his nine years in a Soviet prison (much in solitary confinement) and ultimate release (with a global campaign led by his wife Avital) which paved the way for all Soviet Jews. The film crew, which gained permission from Moscow to film in sensitive locations, was accompanied by Sharansky as they delved into era where there was an overwhelming sense of fear and insecurity in the face of the system.
|GOD OF THE PIANO
Drama. 2019. 80 min. Directed by Itay Tal. Starring Naama Preis (Beyond the Mountains and the Hills), Best Actress, Jerusalem Film Festival. With Ezra Dagan (Shindler’s List), Liora Rivlin (Stockholm) and Shimon Mimran (Out in the Dark). In Hebrew with English subtitles.Anat has never been able to reach her father’s exacting musical standards, and now her family’s hope of producing a musical prodigy rests on her unborn son. When the baby is born deaf, she cannot accept it and resorts to extreme measures to ensure that her child will be the composer that her father always wanted. But when the boy grows up indifferent to his destiny as a great pianist, Anat will have to stand up to her father—and her own actions. “Prepare to be shaken and stirred.” –– Filmuforia
Comedy. 2013. 107 min. Directed by Rashef Levi (Lost Islands). Starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men), Sasson Gabbai (The Band’s Visit, Stockholm), Moni Moshonov (Late Marriage, Jaffa), Yael Abacassis (Hatufim, Echo) and Rotem Zussman-Cohen (The Kind Words, The World is Funny). In English and Hebrew with English subtitles. Seven Ophir nominations, including Best Picture.
Jonathan is a boy genius with limited social skills. When his dad dies suddenly, he and his grandfather, Elijah, hatch a plan to rob the bank that has refused to pay Jonathan’s mother any compensation. Joining them are Elijah’s longtime friend Nick, and Jonathan’s uncle, Lord Michael Simpson, an Englishman and a frustrated Shakespearean actor.
Dramedy. 2014. 100 minutes. Directed by Guy Nattiv (Skin, Mabul) and Erez Tadmor (A Matter of Size, Wounded Land). Starring Makram Khoury (Homeland, The Dove Flyer) [Ophir Award, Best Actor]; Zohar Strauss (Shtisel, Eyes Wide Open) and Ariane Labed (Assassin’s Creed). In Hebrew and Greek with English subtitles.
A 78-year-old Greek-Israeli Holocaust survivor and his Hasidic rapper son, estranged for many years, embark on a road trip from Israel to Greece searching for an old magician who taught the father magic and saved his life during the Shoah.
Sharply drawn characters. — Hollywood Reporter
TV Series. 2019. Eight 30 min. episodes. Directed by Ori Sivan (In Treatment, Harmonia). Created by Mira Awad (Lemon Tree, The Bubble). Starring Mouna Hawa (In Between), Roy Assaf (God’s Neighbors, Wounded Land), Ala Dakka, Rebecca Telhami, Salwa Nakkara, Suhel Haddad and Uri Gavriel (The Dov Flyer, Ballad of the Weeping Spring).
Muna, an Israeli-Arab photographer from Tel Aviv, is putting together an exhibition of her work. The exhibition will take place in Paris and be sponsored by the Israeli government. Her Arab critics argue that this exhibition is an attempt to cover-up for the discriminating Israeli establishment, and her Jewish critics refuse to accept her as their representative. Simultaneously, her new and complicated relationship with Yaniv, a Jewish news producer, is being put to the test ever so intensely against her family and the village she grew up in.
Drama. 2015. 88 min. Directed by Nitzan Gilady. Starring Moran Rosenblatt (Apples from the Desert), Assi Levy (The World is Funny), Roy Assaf (The Kind Words, Wounded Land ) Tomer Kapon (Fauda, One Week and a Day). Ophir Award for Best Actress (Moran Rosenblatt). In Hebrew with English subtitles. Nominated for nine Ophir Awards. Best Israeli Debut Feature, Jerusalem International Film Festival.
With the magnificent Ramon Crater in the Negev as a backdrop, a fiercely independent mentally challenged young woman dreams of marrying the son of the owner of the toilet-paper factory where she works, while her single mom attempts to protect her from the harsh realities of life.
Dramatic TV Series. 2018. Twelve 36 min. episodes. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Directed by Ron Ninio. Series co-created by Ron Ninio, Shlomo Mashiach and Ohad Knoller (Srugim, Yossi & Jagger). Starring Yoram Hattab (Nina’s Tragedies, Home Port), Ilanit Ben-Yaakov (Echo) and Hisham Suliman (Munich, Fauda). Winner of the global television competition, Series Mania.
You may have heard about the upcoming Showtime remake starring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). First see the Israeli original! Dark, gripping and morally complex, Your Honor tells the story of Micah Alkoby, a respected judge who is on the cusp of a big promotion. After his troubled teenage son Shai is involved in a hit-and-run accident, Micha is about to turn Shai in to the police when he learns the victim of the accident is a member of a notorious criminal family. What happens next is a breathtaking spiral of events, as Micah, in his passionate attempt to protect his son, uncharacteristically obstructs justice and covers up the truth.