Israeli films in the spotlight in Tallinn
by Nicolas Raffin
- Five Israeli productions (four fiction films and one documentary) are being presented in Tallinn this year, one of which in the official competition
The 18th edition of the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, which kicked off last Friday and will run until 30 November, will showcase, in three different sections, five Israeli productions: Valley, Dancing Arabs, Self Made, the documentary The Green Prince, and Tsili.
Valley, the feature debut by Sophie Artus, which received two awards at last month’s Haifa Film Festival, is one of 18 films selected for the official competition. Telling the story of three sensitive teenagers who are faced with violence both at school and at home, the film deals with friendship, love and hatred, all within a world at once cruel and magnificent. These themes are also tackled from a different angle in the new film by Eran Riklis, Dancing Arabs [+see also:
interview: Eran Riklis
film profile], a title that sparked significant tensions during the Jerusalem Film Festival last July. The 11th feature by one of Israel's most globally renowned filmmakers and producers, produced by Konken Studios (Germany) and United Channel Movies (Israel), has been nominated in the Panorama section. The hero of the story is Eyad, an Israeli-Palestinian boy, originally from the village of Tira, whose parents send him to Jerusalem to study. There, he fails to integrate because of his language, culture and identity problems. “The film is like a dance, maybe even a traditional folk dance, a dance through the life that we all have in common,” wrote director Riklis with regard to his work.
Self Made is the second feature film by modern artist Shira Geffen. After having been awarded the Caméra d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for her film Jellyfish [+see also:
film profile], Geffen uses her new film to tell the story of Michal, a renowned artist from Jerusalem who loses her memory after her bed collapses onto her. Through a series of events, she ends up in a refugee camp, while Nadine, who used to work in a factory, finds herself in Michal’s house. The boundless imagination of director Geffen results in a film filled with humour and sensitivity in equal measure.
Nadav Schirman's new documentary, The Green Prince [+see also:
film profile], co-produced by Red Box Films and Passion Pictures (United Kingdom) as well as A-List Films (Germany), and awarded at Sundance and Moscow, gives the floor to Mosab, the son of one of the founders of the radical Islamic organisation Hamas. Regarded by both his family and his compatriots as a traitor, he speaks in front of the camera about his life, which has been peppered with imprisonment and espionage. The result is a stunningly thrilling documentary.
Israeli director and writer Amos Gitaï, born in Israel in 1950, delivers his 25th feature film with Tsili [+see also:
film profile], shot by DoP Giora Bejach, who also handled the cinematography for the aforementioned The Green Prince and Valley. Taking place during the Second World War, the film shows how Tsili, a young Jewish woman, manages to escape and hide away after her entire family has been deported. She will meet a Jewish man called Marek, and eventually survive the war. This movie, inspired by a novel by Aharon Appelfeld, brings together all the energy and vitality necessary to survive in such a world of despair.
Valley, Dancing Arabs and Self Made were all supported by the Israeli Film Fund.
(Translated from French)