Jerusalem Film Festival Unveils Full Lineup

Mia Madre Cannes Film Festival
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The Jerusalem Film Festival has unveiled the lineup of pics that will compete for the Haggiag Awards, Israel’s top movie kudos, at the upcoming 32rd edition.

Mixing socially/politically engaged movies and high-concept genre features, the Jerusalem festival’s roster includes “A.K.A. Nadia,” a U.K./Israeli film directed by Tova Ascher, the helmer of “Lemon Tree” and “The Human Ressources Manager”;  Hadar Morag’s “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me”; Yoav and Doron Paz’s “Jeruzalem”; Evgeny Ruman’s “The Man in the Wall”; Avishai Sivan’s “Tikkun” and Nitzan Gilady’s “Wedding Doll.”

“A.K.A Nadia” centers on Maya Goldwasser, who was born into a Muslim family and forged herself a new identity to become a Jewish career woman. But 20 years later, Maya’s past resurfaces, forcing her to face the intolerance and xenophobia within Israeli society.

“Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me” follows the journey of Muhammad, the son of a Palestinian collaborator with the Israeli security services, who strikes a friendship with a lone ranger who rides his motorcycle into the bowels of the city. Morag’s short “Shtika” played at Cannes’ Cinefondation in 2008.

“Jeruzalem,” which marks the helmers’ follow-up to “Phobidilia,” turns on two American girls who follow a mysterious anthropology student on a trip to Jerusalem and get caught in the middle of a biblical apocalypse.

“The Man in the Wall” is a psychological drama set over one night in a Tel Aviv apartment. Pic played at Rotterdam, where it was nominated for a Fipresci prize.

“Tikkun” tells the story of an ultra-Orthodox scholar who becomes apathetic to his studies after a serious accident. Meanwhile, his father, who brought him back to life, is tormented by his fear of having crossed God’s will. Sivon won the Golden Camera in Cannes for “The Vagabond” in 2010.

A romantic dramedy, “Wedding Doll” follows a young woman with a mild mental deficiency who works in a toilet paper factory and falls in love with the owner’s son. But their budding romance is threatened when the closing of the factory is announced. Gilady previously directed the documentary “In Satmar Custody.”

Asia Kapadia’s “Amy,” Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Cemetery of Splendor” and Arnaud Desplechin’s “My Golden Years” are among the 18 movies that will play as part of the festival’s “carte blanche” to experimental filmmaker and curator Vivian Ostrovsky. Other pics set to play in the Carte Blanche section include Nancy Buirski’s “By Sidney Lumet” and Frederick Wiseman’s “National Gallery.”

The Jerusalem Film Festival recently sparked a storm of protests from the local film industry after pulling “Beyond the Fear,” a controversial documentary centering on Yigal Amir, the Jewish man who killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. The decision to not show “Beyond the Fear” was prompted by an ultimatum from Israel’s culture and sports minister Miri Regev, who reportedly threatened to revoke funding for the fest if the docu wasn’t removed.

As previously announced, the Jerusalem Film Festival will kick off with Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre” on July 9, with American actor John Turturro set to attend. “The Godfather” will screen with a live concert on closing night, July 19.

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