Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer to screen at Toronto
by Sandra Echeverri
- The Israeli contingent at the gathering also includes In Between, Past Life, Sand Storm, Forever Pure and several festival hits
The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off its 41st edition on Thursday 8 September with a huge selection of films from all over the world. The gigantic gathering has invited seven films hailing from Israel, including three that will be world-premiered.
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer by Israeli-American director Joseph Cedar, selected in Gala Presentations, follows Norman (Richard Gere), a “seasoned macher”: a man who knows the right people and gets things done. Norman’s position is more vocation than profession, a confidence game requiring luck and a kind of societal sleight of hand. When an Israeli dignitary, Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), visits New York, Norman decides to make an impression by buying him some extremely expensive shoes. A gold-star connection is made, but three years later, Eshel ends up becoming Israel’s prime minister and is suddenly hugely inaccessible. Norman’s circle begins asking him to write cheques he can no longer cash - and the fallout could destroy the reputation that Norman has spent his entire life building.
In Forever Pure, selected in the TIFF Docs section, filmmaker Maya Zinshtein embeds herself inside the locker room of Jerusalem’s Beitar Football Club, which became a flashpoint for controversy in 2012 when the signing of two Muslim players incurred the racist wrath of the team’s long-time fans.
Past Life, selected in the Contemporary World Cinema section, is the newest film by Avi Nesher (The Wonders). The title, about two Israeli sisters who delve into the dark mystery of their father’s former life in Poland during World War II, is having its world premiere at the gathering. The same section will also welcome the world premiere of Maysaloun Hamoud’s In Between [+see also:
interview: Maysaloun Hamoud
film profile], about three Palestinian women sharing an apartment in the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv, who find themselves doing the same balancing act between tradition and modernity, citizenship and culture, and fealty and freedom. Lastly, The Women’s Balcony by Emil Ben Shimon, about an accident during a Bar Mitzvah celebration that leads to a gendered rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem, in a rousing, good-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power, will also be world-premiered in the section.
In the meantime, the Discovery section will welcome the French-Israeli co-production Sand Storm [+see also:
film profile] by Elite Zexer, which won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was shown in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival. The story is about a matriarch preparing for her husband’s second marriage; she takes her suppressed emotions out on her eldest daughter, who has embarked upon a clandestine relationship with a boy at school.
Finally, Anna by Or Sinai will be shown in the Short Cuts programme.