The 26th Haifa International Film Festival, which runs from September 23-30 at the Haifa Cinematheque and other theaters around the city, will offer an eclectic mix of the best of contemporary world cinema and the newest Israeli releases.
Although the full program and guest list have yet to be released, there will be 130 films from 40 countries, among them 20 films that were shown at Cannes this year. The festival, under the stewardship of artistic director Pnina Blayer, will honor the Israel Film Fund on its 30th anniversary and will also present a special achievement award to Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz.
The opening night attraction will be Stephen Frears’ latest film, Tamara Drewe
. Frears, whose work includes The Queen
and Dangerous Liaisons
has turned to comedy with this well-reviewed film starring the gorgeous
new British actress Gemma Arterton. She plays a young woman who has
turned from ugly duckling to swan and causes romantic chaos in her
hometown when she returns to oversee the sale of her childhood home.
Dominic Cooper and Luke Evans co-star.
The closing night movie will be The Town
directed by and starring Ben Affleck. He plays Doug, a bank robber
trying to decide whether to go straight and considering a romantic
relationship with a bank manager (Rebecca Hall), who may recognize him
from one of his bank jobs. Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker
) plays his partner in crime.
The Golden Anchor Competition features films from countries along the Mediterranean, including French director Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch
Daniele Luchetti’s La Nostra Vita, with Elio Germano, who won the Best
Actor Prize at Cannes this year; Honey, directed by Semih Kaplanoglu of
Turkey, which won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival; Sabbine
Lubbe Bakker and Ester Gould’s Shout, about two friends who have grown
up in the Golan Heights and then go to study in Syria; and
Algerian/French director Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside the Law,
about three Algerian brothers who leave home after World War II and end up following very different paths.
many in Israel, the most closely watched competition will be the
Israeli Feature Film Program, which features eight movies, two of which
are competing for Best Picture at the Ophir Awards (to be held just
before the Haifa Festival opens, on September 21): Eran Riklis’s The Human Resources Manager
and Guy Nattiv’s The Flood
.The Human Resources Manager
is based on a novel by A. B. Yehoshua (which was called A Woman in Jerusalem
in its English translation), about a Jerusalem personnel manager who
travels to Russia to compensate the family of a foreign worker who was
killed in a terrorist attack. The film, which stars Mark Ivanir and Guri
Alfi, is also competing at the Toronto International Film Festival this
September. Riklis directed the popular movies The Syrian Bride
and Lemon Tree
stars Ronit Elkabetz, Michael Moshonov and Tzachi Grad as a family in turmoil when a son with autism returns home to live.
The other Israeli films in the competition are Je t’aime, I love you terminal
, directed by Dani Menkin, who directed the documentary 39 Pounds of Love
; Eitan Zur’s Naomi
; Sameh Zoabi’s Man without a Cell Phone
; Alon Zingman’s Dusk; Arnon Tzadok’s Nika
; and Haim Bouzaglo’s Black Bullet
The 12 documentaries include Women of Hamas, directed by Suha Arraf, who wrote the screenplays for The Syrian Bride
and Lemon Tree
; The Human Windmill
by Danny Verete, who made the drama Metallic Blues; and Remember His
Name, a collaboration of three well-known directors, Joseph Cedar, Nir
Bergman and Dover Kosashvili, along with Yair Raveh and Gili Ganon. One
of Seven, a documentary by Israeli journalist Goel Pinto, will be
screened in the Jewish Identity category.
Among the special
programs will be a tribute to the late director John Huston, featuring
some of his most acclaimed films, including The African Queen
, starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart; The Man Who Would Be King
, with Sean Connery and Michael Caine; and The Dead
, with Huston’s own daughter, actress Anjelica Huston.
will be a program of films for the entire family, opening with Kooky,
the latest film by Czech director Jan Sverak, about a boy whose mother
throws out his favorite old teddy bear, which refuses to disappear from
his life.For further details on the programs and to order tickets, visit the festival Web site at www.haifaff.co.il.