Five Israeli films at the BFI London Film Festival
by Jesús Silva
- Three fictions and two documentaries with Israeli producers behind them are set to screen at the London Film Festival, some with European co-producers
Israel is arriving with a solid representation at the 59th British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival, which is screening a total of three feature films and two co-produced documentaries. Wedding Doll by Nitzan Gilady (who is also the writer and producer) is an important contender for the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition. The story follows 24-year-old Hagit, a young woman with a mild intellectual disability who is struggling for independence but obsessed with the idea of marriage. The film, which was premiered at Toronto, received the Best First Film Award at Jerusalem and the Ophir Award for Best Actress (presented to Moran Rosenblatt for her outstanding performance in the lead role). Red Leaves, another first feature, by Tel Aviv-based Ethiopian director Bazzi Gete, is also on the programme, after winning the Anat Pirchi Award for Best First Film at Jerusalem.
As for co-productions, Alexis Alexiou is showing Wednesday 04:45 [+see also:
film profile] (produced by Greek, German and Israeli partners). Alexiou’s second feature stars Stelios Mainas as Stelios, the owner of a jazz club in Athens who has to deal with the most ruthless side of Greece’s financial crisis, as he is faced with a fiendish investor who is demanding his repayments.
Among the non-fiction titles, Mr. Gaga [+see also:
film profile] by Tomer Heymann (Paper Dolls) focuses on the life of prestigious Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, “the man who dances like a cat". This visually stunning documentary is a co-production between Israel, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands; it is in the running for the Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition. Finally, director Mor Loushy will be screening her second documentary, Censored Voices [+see also:
film profile], which was premiered this year at Sundance. The film, based on real testimonies from Israeli soldiers after the Six-Day War, is said to play a “crucial role in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, according to BFI programmer Laure Bonville. It is an Israeli-German production, with Dogwoof in charge of its distribution in the United Kingdom.
The BFI Film Festival takes place in London from 7-18 October 2015.