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Jerusalem Film Festival Sets Tribute To Ronit Elkabetz, Opening With Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Julieta’

Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta,” which recently world premiered in competition at Cannes, will open the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival.

“We are happy to open this year’s festival with a film by one of the world’s most beloved and acclaimed filmmakers in recent decades, Pedro Almodóvar. Julieta is a cinematic celebration – a colorful, exciting, fun and thought-provoking film,” said Noa Regev, topper of Jerusalem Cinematheque and exec director of Jerusalem fest. “The aesthetic experience offered by the film will no doubt be even greater when shown on the giant screen at the Sultan’s Pool. Like most of Almodóvar’s works, it is focused on female protagonist and deals with women’s power.”

Based on a trio of short stories by Pulitzer-winning Canadian author Alice Munro, “Julieta” stars Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte in the title role, at different ages. Rossy de Palma also toplines. Pic will be released by Lev Cinemas in Israel on July 8, a day after its festival opening.

Jerusalem fest, which previously opened with Almodovar’s “All About my Mother” and “Talk to Her,” will kick off with “Julieta” in “commemoration of two inspirational female figures of Israeli Cinema who are no longer with us – Lia van Leer, founder of the festival, and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz,” said Regev, who works with artistic director Elad Samorzik.

Jerusalem fest will indeed host a tribute to Elkabetz, the actress and filmmaker who died of cancer in April and has been mourned by the Israeli and international film communities.

The tribute to Elkabetz will include the special screening of her feature debut “To Take a Wife,” in which she also stars. “To Take a Wife” was the first film of a trilogy penned and directed by Elkabetz and her brother, Shlomi Elkabetz. The trilogy was completed by “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” a Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight player that marked Ronit Elkabetz’s last film. On top of earning critical acclaim, “Gett” shed light of women who are faced with unfair, archaic divorce laws in Israel and prompted a heated debate at home and beyond.

The festival will also bow an international competition lineup which will be fully announced in the next few days. So far, Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Icelandic coming-of-age drama “Sparrows” and Danish helmer Tobias Lindholm’s Oscar-nominated “A War” have been selected to compete as part of the new international section that’s being backed by New Jersey-based Wilf Family Foundation.

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