Israeli Cinema’s Latest Offer is an Admirable Letdown


The selection: A train journey inside an apartment; an alter boy who questions his faith after finding a fake Easter egg; a skateboarding-obsessed Palestinian Israeli dates a Jewish woman; a pre-Bar Mitzvah boy struggles with erotic dreams; a guard at a secret torture center falls in love with a prisoner; a man trains to be a certified Jewish undertaker and work with the dead; another sets up a fake Hamas missile launch to get into a bomb shelter with the object of his desire; a politician stumbles upon a prepared obituary of himself; a documentary on Israel's contested 443 highway; a spy is secretly arrested after an Israeli Defense Ministry event in his honor; a Bedouin documentary; and more.

The repertoire of new Israeli films at this year's Jerusalem Film Festival is vast, for sale diverse and bewildering.

Israeli film has gone through a renaissance of sorts over the past decade. From a country known for low-tech, buy
formulaic war movies, Israeli filmmakers have become major players on the global cinematic stage, with compelling feature films making the short lists at the world's major festivals each year.  Ajami, Waltz with Bashir, Lebanon and Beaufort are just a few of the Israeli films to have won major international prizes over the past three years.

One of this year's most unique contributions to the Israeli film library is The Golden Pomegranate, billed as the world's first feature film about Israel's creation from the perspective of a Sephardic Jewish family.

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