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The award-winning film Noodle opened Britain's first Israeli film festival to a packed house in northwest London on Saturday night, followed by a question and answer session with the movie's director Ayelet Menahemi.
The Israeli Cinema Showcase runs for three days in four venues across London.
The diverse program organized by the UK Jewish Film Festival includes Israeli classics such as Salah Shabati alongside cutting edge films such as On Hold. An array of documentaries, short films and special events that celebrate Israeli cinema is also on offer.
"This Israeli cinema showcase is an opportunity for cinema-goers to experience some of the best of the great films that Israel has produced over the years and also to find out more about the diverse society that exists behind the daily news headlines," festival director Judy Ironside said. "The films range in theme and form, engaging with the mythological kibbutz experience, non-Jewish minorities in Israel, ethnicity, religion and much more."
Menahemi's award-winning 1992 Tel Aviv Stories is also showing and she will be attending both screenings and taking part in audience discussions. Other films include My Father My Lord, David Volach's debut that recalls Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac through the story of an rabbi and his young son. Based on David Grossman's best selling novel, Someone to Run With is a suspense-filled, fast-paced film set on the streets of Jerusalem.
The showcase is also screening documentaries. Three Times Divorced follows the story of Khitam as she fights a Shari'a Court for custody of her children. Filmed entirely in the Negev, Recognized depicts the culture, frustrations and fears of the Beduin community. Children of the Sun tells the story of the first generation of kibbutz children through home movies, song and rare recordings spanning 1930-1980. The film's producer, Amir Harel, will take part in a question and answer session.
Rokaya Sabbah's film, On Hold, portrays the mixed allegiances and identities of Israeli Arabs as she prepares to emigrate to Spain in search of a better life. The critically acclaimed The Champagne Spy is a gripping documentary centered on the family of a Mossad agent that takes viewers beyond the myth of espionage to reveal the personal price paid by those who live in the shadows. Oded Gur-Arie, the son of the Mossad agent who revealed the story, will attend the screening along with producer Nadav Schirman.
On Sunday, On Hold director Sabbah will take part in a discussion on the growing number of films by and about non-Jews in Israel.