Films from Israel at the Venice Film Festival: The Farewell Party and Vila Touma
by Daniel Litani
- The films by Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit and Suha Arraf will be screened at Venice Days and the Critic’s Week, respectively
Two films by Israeli directors will premiere at the 71th Venice Film Festival: Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit's The Farewell Party (Mita Tova) will be screened at the Giornati degli Autori - Venice Days official selection. The film is about a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home that build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend. When rumours of the machine begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends are faced with an emotional dilemma.
Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit won the Best Pitch Award at the 2010 Berlinale for the script of My Sweet Euthanasia, on which The Farewell Party is based, after a very fruitful collaboration between the two directors before. They say that "it is a real excitement for us to begin the film international screenings at the Venice International Film Festival. Our film is an emotional drama with comic moments like life itself."
Villa Touma, Suha Arraf’s first feature film will be screened at the independently run Venice sidebar Critics' Week. The films portrays the life of three Palestinian Christian sisters who've lost their land and status due to the 1967 war with Israel and aren't able to face the painful new reality that's been imposed on them, so they lock themselves away in their big house and continue to live in a time warp. Within the villa's crumbling walls, the sisters live in their own personal bubbles, each with her own secrets, dreams and failed love story, hidden behind a mask of manners and propriety.
Arraf writes in the film leaflet that: "I wanted to make a different Palestinian film that doesn't present the Palestinian as simply either the hero or as the victim. I wanted to bring the Palestinian people to the forefront, their existence and dignity".
Both films are supported by the Israel Film Fund.
Last year the Israeli espionage drama Bethlehem [+see also:
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film profile], from Israel's Yuval Adler, picked up the top prize in the Venice Days section of the 70th Venice Film Festival.