2016. Israel. Dir: Ori Sivan. With Alon Aboutboul, Tali Sharon. 97 min.
e friendship between two members of the Jerusalem Philharmonic is tested when Hagar offers to have a child for Sarah and her husband Abraham, the orchestra’s conductor. Music invigorates this reimagining of a biblical story, which emphasizes the relationship between the women who both feel responsible for the gifted pianist born from this agreement.
2015. Israel/Canada. Dir: Shemi Zarhin. With Rotem Zissman-Cohen. 118 min.
After the death of their mother, three siblings embark on an international road trip to try to uncover family secrets. Their trek from Israel to France becomes as much about the journey itself as the answers they seek; as the siblings reconnect they must confront what they thought they knew about each other and try to figure out who they really are.
2015. Israel/USA. Dir: Natalie Portman. With Portman, Amir Tessler. 95 min.
Portman’s directorial debut adapts the memoir of Amos Oz, who spent his post-WWII youth in what was then Mandatory Palestine, a region on the cusp of partition and civil war. Young Amos reflects on his mother (Portman), a European immigrant whose grimly recounted stories signal a deepening depression.
2014. Israel. Dir: Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon. With Ze’ev Revach. 95 min.
In this darkly comic look at euthanasia, a group of seniors design a device to allow an ailing friend to end his own life. Word gets around, and soon they are met with an ethical dilemma as they receive a flood of requests to use the machine. Anchored by roundly superb performances from its ensemble, the film explores a difficult subject deftly with wit and humanity. Presented as part of the Ninth Annual Ring Family Israeli Film Series, featuring speaker Laura Blum, film critic.
2014. Israel. Dir: Talya Lavie. With Dana Ivgy, Nelly Tagar. 97 min.
It’s been called Orange is the New Black meets M*A*S*H: A group of young women while away their mandatory army time as secretaries on a remote military base, where dying of boredom poses a larger threat than dying in combat. Writer-director Lavie paints a biting portrait of office tedium both humorous and macabre. Presented as part of the Ninth Annual Ring Family Israeli Film Series, featuring speaker Aner Preminger, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Jewish Studies.
2012. Israel. Dir: Aner Preminger. With Hagit Dasberg, Alma Dishit. 104 min.
Enraged by the constant violence of the Second Intifada, an Israeli mother decides to barricade her house from the outside world – much to the surprise and fury of her husband and children, who are locked inside. Presented as part of the Ninth Annual Ring Family Israeli Film Series. Director Preminger, currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Jewish Studies, will present and discuss his work.
2014. Israel. Dir: Matti Harari, Arik Lubetsky. With Moran Rosenblatt. 96 min.
An Orthodox teen feels the pull of secularism away from her strict father and towards a cute college boy. Her escape isn’t a carefree, easy liberation but a hesitant and heartfelt act of self-definition by a woman who wants the best of both worlds: finding a new life while maintaining vital connection to faith and family. Presented as part of The Ninth Annual Ring Family Israeli Film Festival, featuring speaker Eran Polishuk, Director of Film and Media, Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in New York.
2012. Israel. Dir: Benny Toraty. With Uri Gavriel, Dudu Tassa. 106 min.
Two decades after a tragic car crash, lute player Yosef must get his band back together to play an unperformed symphony and fulfill the wishes of a dying friend. This “Falafel Western” – a sort of musical Magnificent Seven – has been hailed for its style and outstanding soundtrack. Speaker: Laura Blum, film critic.
2013. Israel. Dir: Nissim Dayan. With Daniel Gad, Yasmin Ayun. 105 min.
With so much of our attention focused on Iraq’s recent history, this film instead seeks to illuminate the story of Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community and the departure of 130,000 people during its final days in 1950. It is the first film made in the Iraqi-Jewish dialect of Arabic. Speaker: Elisha Russ-Fishbane, Assistant Professor of Religion.
2013. Israel. Dir: Reshef Levi. With Sasson Gabai, Patrick Stewart. 107 min.
Twelve-year-old Jonathan decides to exact revenge on the bank his father worked for, following their refusal to pay compensation for dad’s death on the job. With the aid of his grandfather and two of his elderly friends, Jonathan will attempt to rob the bank and earn some payback in this crime caper. Speaker: Isaac Zablocki, Director of Film Programs at JCC Manhattan.