A look back at that old Friday afternoon ritual, when Israeli families of all backgrounds–Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, and Palestinians alike–would gather to watch the week’s “Egyptian movie” on television. This documentary explores that peculiar phenomenon and examines how Israel’s official TV station was able to transcend hostile boundaries to obtain these films, and why. Arabic Movie takes us back to that fleeting moment when Israelis shared the same cultural heroes as everyone else in the Middle East, even as it raises disturbing questions about the relationship of Israelis with their neighbors across the border.
2015 | 84 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Mor Loushy
One week after the 1967 Six Day War, a group of young Israeli soldiers, led by renowned Israeli author Amos Oz, recorded intimate conversations with their comrades returning from the battlefield. In these recordings, soldiers wrestled with the systemic evacuation of Palestinians, the dehumanizing nature of war, and the echoes of the Holocaust, taking an honest look at the moment Israel turned occupier. These recordings, censored by the Israeli army until now, are played back to the soldiers 50 years later, bringing past abruptly into present and revealing the soldiers’ stunning confessions for the first time.
2015 | 135 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Joseph Dorman & Oren Rudavsky
A feature-length exploration of one of the most influential, controversial, and urgently relevant political ideologies of the modern era. With origins in Europe in the late 19th century, Zionism was born out of the Jewish confrontation with modernity and persecution. Yet, early on, Zionism faced opposition from Palestine’s Arab inhabitants, who saw it as depriving them of their own national rights in a land they had inhabited for centuries. Now, amid unceasing religious conflict and tragic bloodshed, it is more crucial than ever for Americans to better understand the meaning, history, and future of the movement.
Jerusalem Boxing Club
2015 | 71 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Helen Yanovsky
Founded in a bomb shelter in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Boxing Club brings together hundreds of teens from all around the city. For many of these young people, the desire to excel and to win the national championship is nourished by the tough training and boundless love of Gershon Luxemburg, club manager and trainer, who claims that “nobody comes to box without a reason.” Jerusalem Boxing Club follows four teens from different walks of Israeli life as they learn from Gershon, call his club home, and compete together for the national title.
2015 | 81 minutes | Themes: Narrative
Director: Doron & Yoav Paz
A found-footage style horror film that takes us to Jerusalem, the very locus of biblical mystery and fear. On the night of Yom Kippur, a group of vacationing American teenagers decide to follow a mysterious and handsome archaeology student to the Old City. Their party is cut short at sundown, when Jerusalem’s legendary gate to hell is opened, releasing a nightmare apocalypse. Trapped between the city’s ancient walls, the three travelers must survive long enough to find a way out, as the fury of hell is unleashed upon them.
2015 | 65 minutes | Themes: Documentary, Family
Director: Anat Goren
A moving documentary that tells the story of Mussa, a 12-year-old African refugee living in one of Tel Aviv’s worst neighborhoods. In a strange stroke of government policy, Mussa is bussed to an upscale private school every day, where he silently navigates a privileged world, connecting with his friends and teachers through gestures and facial expressions but, inexplicably, refusing to speak. When Mussa’s mother is told she must leave the country in one week, Mussa is left devastated, fearing deportation and compelled to leave his father and friends behind.
A riveting compilation featuring diverse stories across generations.
The Arrest (Dir. Yair Agmon, 10 min, Narrative
Boys of Nitzana (Dir. Tamir Elterman, 9 min, Documentary)
Dirty Business (Dir. Vadim Dumesh, 15 min, Documentary)
Till Day’s End (Dir. Amitai Ashkenazi, 19 min, Narrative)
2015 | 81 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Jake Witzenfeld
The story of Khader, Fadi, and Naim, three gay Palestinian friends confronting their national and sexual identity in Tel Aviv. Khader is a Tel Aviv “darling” from a prominent Muslim family living with David, his Jewish boyfriend, a staple of the local LGBT nightlife scene. Fadi is an ardent Palestinian nationalist consumed with guilt about his love for a Zionist. Naim yearns to confront his family with the truth about his sexuality. Determined to make a change, and frustrated with balancing their multi-faceted identities, the three best friends form a resistance movement fighting for gender and national equality.
Partner with the Enemy
2015 | 56 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Duki Dror & Chen Shelach
In the midst of the ever-fraught Israeli-Palestinian political landscape, two women–one Israeli and one Palestinian–attempt the seemingly impossible: to build a business together. Fighting against societal and family pressure, anti-normalization currents and a chauvinistic, male-dominated industry, the two combine forces to create a logistics company which helps Palestinian businessmen to navigate the everyday absurdities of Israeli control of the West Bank. But while they help their clients to overcome the obstacles of Israeli occupation, the divisions between them threaten to tear their partnership apart. Can the bond between them overcome the impossible?
Rabin in His Own Words
2015 | 113 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Erez Laufer
On the day of the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, The Other Israel Film Festival at JCC Manhattan presents a special NY premiere preview screening honoring his memory.
Winner, “Best Documentary” – Haifa International Film Festival 2015
20 years after his assassination, Yitzhak Rabin, one of Israel’s most legendary leaders, tells his dramatic life story. Through a combination of rare archival footage, home movies and private letters, Rabin’s personal and professional dramas and life story unfold entirely in his own voice. From his childhood as the son of a labor leader before the founding of the State of Israel, to the horrific moment when his political career and life were suddenly brought to an end. There is no better way to present the story of this legend than in his own words.
Rock in the Red Zone
2015 | 2015 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Laura Bialis
An intimate portrayal of life on the edge in the war-torn city of Sderot. For years, Sderot’s prolific rock scene has revolutionized Israeli music, marrying Eastern sounds to Western influences. The town has also been the target of ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip for the past thirteen years. In 2007, filmmaker Laura Bialis traveled from Los Angeles to Sderot to explore this reality firsthand. Through the personal lives of Sderot’s diverse musicians, as well as through her own deepening connection to Sderot’s people, Bialis chronicles the town’s trauma, discovering music, romance, and its enduring spirit.
This powerful film follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers over the course of an academic year. It asks: How do the Palestinian, Israeli Arab, and Israeli Jewish educational systems teach the history of their peoples? By observing teachers, the film shows us their exchanges and confrontations with students as they transmit the values of religion, politics, and nationalism in the classroom. In Teaching Ignorance, educators from all sides of the conflict debate their peoples’ official curriculum, wrestling with is restrictions. This film offers an intimate glimpse into the profound and long-lasting effect that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict transmits to the next generation.
The Voice of Peace
2014 | 89 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Eric Friedler
A radical dreamer and a rebellious visionary, the Israeli peace activist Abie Nathan was the man behind “The Voice of Peace,” a pirate radio station broadcasting from a ship off the coast of Tel Aviv. During the 1970s, the station had more than 20 million enthusiastic listeners from all over the Middle East. This fascinating documentary follows Nathan’s humanitarian work over four decades, combining rarely-seen archival footage with interviews with former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Yoko Ono, Sir Michael Caine, and other world-renowned individuals who believed in Nathan’s vision of a more peaceful Middle East.
Women in Sink
2015 | 36 minutes | Themes: Documentary
Director: Iris Zaki
At “Fifi’s,” a small hair salon located in the heart of Haifa’s Arab community, director Iris Zaki installs a mini film set over the washing basin. While she shampoos their hair, Zaki speaks candidly with the salon’s Arab and Jewish clients, discussing their views on politics, history, and love. Within the space of this hair salon, the women of the neighborhood achieve a temporary freedom, examining their differences and friendships within a community that many consider a model of Israeli coexistence. What emerges from these conversations is an honest and nuanced portrait of contemporary Israel.
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