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SCHEDULE - Tuesday, 11/19/2013

6:30 PM - The Lesson at The JCC in Manhattan

Layla, a sixty-something, Egyptian-born woman has had multiple failed attempts in passing her driving test, but her last best chance is with Nimar, the top driving instructor in Jerusalem, whom she begins practicing with. The lessons turn into cathartic confessions as Anat Zuria’s crew tags along to watch the lessons and catches Layla, recounting the story of her life—her family in Egypt in the midst of a revolution, her broken marriage to an abusive husband and the struggles of her children, particularly her daughter, Hagar, who is preparing to marry a Jewish man. The Lesson is a major new work from Zuria, whose previous films Sentenced to Marriage and Black Bus explored the prohibitions faced by women in Israel, and who Haaretz called “one of the most riveting women in the local film world.”


6:30 PM - It’s Better to Jump at Cinema Village

The Northern port city of Acco (Acre) is a mixed (Jewish-Arab) city.  The city’s Palestinian population—both Muslim and Christian, and for the large part “Palestinians of 1948,” who were the residents of Israel when it was granted statehood—has been there for generations. As Akko has become an increasingly-popular tourist destination, however, there has been a concerted push to change the long-standing demographics, resulting in a government-backed push to move Palestinians out of the Old City. In the hands of the filmmakers, a traditional rite of passage in Akko, the act of jumping from the ancient 40-foot seawall, becomes a metaphor for the perilous situation and great bravery of the city’s Palestinian population. A tough, deeply empathetic film that may suggest uneasy parallels between subtler gentrification, as we know it, and actual forced relocation.
In theaters Nov. 22.


8:30 PM - The Garden of Eden at The JCC in Manhattan

To Jews it’s the Gan HaShlosha National Park. To Arabs it’s the Sahne. In this widely-lauded documentary, however, it’s the eponymous Garden of Eden. A funny, generous document of the park—a popular getaway for Israelis from all walks of life—through the seasonal changes of one year, an introduction to some of the park’s regular visitors, a host of fascinating individuals. There is a recent divorcee, a woman who has faced untold trials since her marriage as an adolescent, a man planning to emigrate from Israel, and another traumatized by his brother’s death in war. Christians, Muslims, Jews, and atheists are here, united in their humanity, and the result is a testimony on the vibrant diversity of Israel, often mistakenly simplified into two monolithic poles.
Co-presented by America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF), Park Slope Jewish Center, Hunter Hillel and Queens College Hillel.


8:30 PM - Apples of Golan

Since the Golan Heights passed from Syria to Israel in 1967’s Six Days War, only a few of the region’s Arab villages remain proudly, stubbornly intact. Documentarians Jill Beardsworth and Keith Walsh look at one of them, a community of Druze apple farmers whose crops, along with prospective brides, are among the only items freely exported from Israel to Syria. Particularly vital in light of current events in Syria, Apples of Golan captures the schism between an older generation, born in Syrian Golan and loyal to Bashar al-Assad, and a younger generation, born in Israeli Golan with “Undefined” citizenship and unsure loyalties.