Moscow Film Festival highlights Israeli women's works

A SCENE from ‘Asia.’ (photo credit: LEV CINEMAS/DANIELLA NOWITZ)
A SCENE from ‘Asia.’

Even in uncertain Corona times, and despite the logistical complexity, in April 2021, marking the start of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia, the State of Israel was invited to be a guest country at the Moscow International Film Festival, and to conduct a special program dedicated to women’s cinema.

The curator on behalf of the festival - Alexander Kolobovsky, together with Israeli curator Ariel Schweitzer, collaborated from the outset and created a unique program that brought together the mainstays of Israeli cinema with the voices of the new generation: “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” by Ronit Elkabetz alongside “Mami” by Keren Yedaya and “People That Are Not Me” by Hadas Ben Aroya. 

The opening film was “Asia” by Ruthy Pribar. The internationally award-winning film was screened at the magnificent Khudozhestvenny Cinema in central Moscow, a month after the completion of extensive renovations. 

Israeli ambassador in Russia, ambassador, Alexander Ben-Zvi (Credit: BIBIK)Israeli ambassador in Russia, ambassador, Alexander Ben-Zvi (Credit: BIBIK)

In the presence of the ambassador, Alexander Ben-Zvi, director Pribar and lead actress Alena Yiv, the program opened before a capacity crowd, in accordance with the Corona guidelines of the time.

Other films screened at the festival included the documentary film “The Wall” by Moran Ifergan, who also participated in discussions with the audience, “Joe + Belle” by Roni Keidar, as well as the short films “Mu’aka” (Grief) by Hadar Friedlich, “Misholim” by Hagar Ben-Asher and “Gan Eden Avud” (Paradise Lost) by Michal Barzis and Oded Ben Nun. As part of the festival, press conferences and workshops for students were held at the VGIK Film School and the New Film School. 

L to R: Movie director Ruthy Pribar, Ambassador Ben-Zvi, actress Alena Yiv (Credit: BIBIK)L to R: Movie director Ruthy Pribar, Ambassador Ben-Zvi, actress Alena Yiv (Credit: BIBIK)

Yana Kotlyar-Gal, culture and science attaché, said, “It’s no secret that Israeli film has acquired many fans over the years and continues to improve over time, raising interesting questions, and with no fear of touching on difficult and complex topics. 

“This year, when Michal Bat Adam was awarded the Israel Prize for filmmaking, we decided that it would be appropriate to shine the spotlight on women directors, actors and screenwriters, who work in a field that in Israel is considered to be dominated by men, and who are trailblazing for future generations. In my experience, this topic is familiar to women in the Russian film industry. We received warm and interesting responses from local professionals, which led to fascinating discussions in movie theaters.”   

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