The Denver Film Society and the Mizel Museum collaborated to launch New Israeli Cinema, a month-long film series that will be held annually in July. With the latest in the world of film from Israel, as well as a three-film retrospective from Amos Gitai, New Israeli Cinema series engaged and entertained with films from one of the world’s most vibrant, prolific and expanding cinematic traditions.
The 2011 film series included:
New Israeli Cinema Schedule
The Human Resources Manager of Jerusalem’s largest bakery is in trouble. He is separated from his wife, distanced from his daughter, and stuck in a job he hates. When one of his employees, a foreign worker, is killed in a suicide bombing, the bakery is accused of indifference, and the HR Manager is sent to the victim’s hometown in Romania to make amends. Far from home, on a mission to honor a woman he didn’t even know but has somehow grown to admire, the HR Manager rediscovers his own humanity and his ability to truly care for human resources.
In Israel in the early 1960s, a new generation is growing up: the militant Israeli that will not go through another Holocaust. Aharon, a 13-year old with a highly developed inner world, does not quite fit the mold. His soul seeks refinement, art – everything he is unable to find at home. As an expression of protest he doesn’t grow an inch in three years and embarks on a dangerous journey: to cross the boundary dividing childhood and adolescence.
Galia, a young woman from Jerusalem, and her boyfriend Oren board a local bus. The bus explodes, leaving Oren in a coma and Galia with severe burns and memory loss; she lacks memory of the day of the terrorist attack and the days leading up to it. The film begins one year later, upon Oren’s death. As Galia undergoes physical and mental therapy, she attempts to stitch together the shattered fragments of her life and soul. A necklace sent to her from an unidentified source sets her off on a journey to find the missing pieces of the puzzle from that horrific day.
Presented in cooperation with E-3 Events.
Named after the local soccer stadium in the Southern Israeli town of Beer Sheba, Vasermil tells the story of three teenagers from separate marginalized communities, who pin their hopes on soccer as a way out. Shlomi, Adiel and Dima are recruited by the coach of the local soccer team to take part in the Beersheba Youth Championship, held on Independence Day at the Vasermil Stadium. Success at the tournament means getting noticed by the scouts of the local soccer empire, Hapoel Beersheba. In order to win, Shlomi, Adiel and Dima, each with their own set of adversities, will have to learn to play as a team and overcome their differences.
Spotlight on Amos Gitai
Israeli filmmaker and citizen of the world, Amos Gitai resides in Haifa and Paris but lives and works throughout the world. With his prolific and diversified work, he is now one of the most respected filmmakers in the international arena and he constantly explores new narrative methods and styles, always associated with contemporary reality.
This first long feature, designed as an immense “tableau vivant”, tells the Old Testament story of Esther, who does not know she is Jewish when she is chosen by King Ashasuerus as his wife. Upon discovering a plot against her people, she manages to save them. Using this myth of survival and resistance, Amos Gitai also narrates the revengeful exterminations perpetrated by the Jews against their enemies. This violence resonates with current events, creating a parallel underscored by the ruins of Wadi Salib, where Gitai filmed the story. This is the first part in a trilogy that also comprises Berlin Jerusalem and Golem, the Spirit of Exile.
Abandoned by its Palestinian owner in the 1948 war; requisitioned by the Israeli government as vacant; rented to Jewish Algerian immigrants in 1956; purchased by a university professor who undertakes its transformation into a three-story house in 1980…This West Jerusalem building is no longer the microcosm it once was 25 years ago. Its inhabitants dispersed, this common space has disintegrated, but remains both an emotional and physical center at heart of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Concrete reality has transformed into scattered stories and memories. A new identity, a new Diaspora, have evolved.
Ana is reunited with her estranged Israeli stepbrother, Uli, when he travels to France due to the death of their father. She decides to return to Israel to search for the daughter she gave up at birth 20 years ago. Crossing frontiers by car, train and boat, Ana and Uli are caught up in the turmoil and emotion of the military-enforced disengagement of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005.
Presented in cooperation with Donald and Arlene Shwayder.