Personal and political
The Blue and white films look strong at this year’s ‘Docaviv festival.’
The Buddhist and the cripple Photo: Courtesy
The renaissance in Israeli cinema is old news now, but the Israeli competition
films at the 14th annual Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival will
show off Israeli film at its most engaged and engaging.
festival, co-founded by Ilana Tsur, will run from May 3-12. Israeli and
international films will be shown at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, the Tel Aviv
Museum of Art, ZOA House and the Port of Tel Aviv.
As in previous years,
the Israeli offerings mix the personal and the political. While there are films
with a strong political point of view, they examine this view through the lens
of documentary artistry. Others focus on social, environmental and artistic
Twelve films were selected for this year’s Israeli competition,
out of 70 submissions, with a selection committee including Neta Dvorkis, editor
(The Law in These Parts and Lone Samaritan); Sinai Abt, Docaviv artistic
director; and Gabi Bibliovich, director (Medinat Hayehudim and Tel
Thom Powers, a programmer for the Toronto International Film
Festival and a former Docaviv jury member wrote on the IndieWire blog: “The air
of the festival has a political urgency and engagement lacking in more subdued
cities. Whatever preconceptions you have of Israel, a visit to Doc Aviv will
give you fresh perspectives.”
White Nights, directed by Irit Gal, should
certainly bring a fresh perspective to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is
about Palestinian cleaning women from the West Bank who sneak into Jerusalem at
night and work to support their families. They must hide their activities from
men in their lives who won’t allow them to work outside their homes and Israeli
soldiers who want to arrest them because they don’t have work
Yariv Mozer’s Underground Men looks at persecuted gay
Palestinians who hide illegally in Tel Aviv after fleeing the territories. Some were caught and tortured by security forces, others were
beaten and imprisoned by their families. Flight to Tel Aviv is the best option
for them, and some have been living in Israel for years.
In One Day After
Piece, Miri Laufer and Erez Laufer examine the question of whether the means
used to resolve the conflict in South Africa work in Israel.
was born in South Africa during the apartheid era; later on she lost her son
during his service with the Israeli army. She embarked on a journey back to
South Africa to learn more about the country’s Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, established to overcome years of enmity. Damelin’s quest is moving
and at times surprising.
In Cinema Jenin, director Marcus Wetter looks at
what was once the biggest movie theater in the Palestinian territories. Founded
in the ’60s, it has been abandoned.
A group of Palestinians and Germans
come together to rebuild it, and their different perspectives on the issues
involved make for some thought-provoking discussions, as well as comic
Eyal Goldberg’s Powder is about a soldier who keeps getting
called for reserve duty as he struggles to cope with death and illness in his
A different personal dilemma is the focus of Noam Pinchas’ The
Buddhist and the Cripple, about a former kibbutznik who returns to his childhood
home to help his old friend, who has become a disabled recluse.
Brodsky’s Home Movie looks at the breakdown of the director’s family, which
gravitates toward an apartment in Jerusalem where they set down roots. The film
explores their decision to sell the place or repair it.
Child abuse is
the focus of several of the films. Amit Goren’s Dangerous Children looks at Beit
Noam, a treatment center whose mission is to rehabilitate men who have been
violent toward their children and spouses. Yael Sherer’s Dirty Laundry is about
the filmmaker’s struggle to come to terms with her family after her father
served a prison sentence for sexually abusing her.
Dan and Noit Geva’s
Noise looks at the tribulations of a Tel Aviv resident with a strong aversion to
In But Why Did You Dance Naked?, Zohar Wagner investigates
video cassettes filmed many years ago in New York that suddenly turn up in a
Omer Yafman’s All Happy Mornings is an examination of a
bisexual’s life and relationship with his family in Tel Aviv’s Bohemian rock
For more information, go to the festival’s website at