Around the remote

People now expect Israeli films to win prizes at virtually every major film festival, because they usually do. But not long ago – about 15 years ago to be exact – it was the opposite.

May 29, 2014 15:41
3 minute read.
Israeli shorts, the ‘Simpsons’ 500th episode and a tough Brits - TV picks of the week

Israeli shorts, the ‘Simpsons’ 500th episode and a tough Brits - TV picks of the week. (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)


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 The Cannes Film Festival concluded last Sunday, and although several Israeli films that were competing generated some buzz and received good reviews, none of them won a prize and people back home are wondering why.

That’s the current situation of Israeli cinema: People now expect Israeli films to win prizes at virtually every major film festival, because they usually do. But not long ago – about 15 years ago to be exact – it was the opposite.

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Israeli films rarely made it into international competitions, and didn’t even get many viewers or much attention at home – because most were truly terrible.

The innovative series, Short- Long, which is running on Channel One on Saturdays at 10:30 p.m., as well on the HD Channel 511, pays tribute to this changed landscape.

The show presents short tribute films by young filmmakers inspired by Israeli classics.

The show is hosted by Yaron London, the author/political commentator who is also a very beloved children’s television performer (only in Israel).

The films take moments from classic cinema and then imagine what would happen to these characters a few years later on. For example, one film looks at what would have become of the gang from the Lemon Popsicle films – a series of broad, teen comedies that were wildly popular for a few decades – if we could see them now.

Another revisits Dover Kosashvili’s acclaimed film, A Late Wedding, about the son of Georgian immigrants whose parents want him to marry an innocent Georgian girl even though he is in love with a divorced Israeli woman. It turns the plot of the that film upside down and imagines that the Georgian son falls for another man.

Assi Dayan, the iconic Israeli actor, makes one of his last appearances on film in this series.

Other acclaimed actors featured in the series include Moshe Ivgy, Evelyn Hagoel, and Dina Sanderson.

It’s hard to imagine the television and pop culture landscape without a certain yellow, four-fingered family. The Simpsons have been with us for so long, their 500th episode is about to air on May 31 on YES Comedy at 5:50 p.m.

Technically, it’s the 14th episode of the 23rd season, and if you’ve forgotten how good The Simpsons can be, now is the time to remind yourself. This animated sitcom combines the story of an outrageous family, but one we can all recognize, with pointed social commentary on issues ranging from nuclear power, educational fads, to idiotically violent kids’ series (remember The Itchy and Scratchy show?).

This episode features a story in which the family gets thrown out of Springfield and finds themselves in a kind of netherworld with no rules, called The Outlands. There, they come across Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, who actually recorded his own dialogue for the show from the Ecuadorian Embassy in Britain, where he was staying at the time. He joins a long list of hundreds of illustrious guests who have performed on the show over the years.

Britain was once the address for quality television, but in recent years it has been eclipsed by its American counterparts.

While there have always been good, low-key, low-budget comedies and upper-class soaps from England, the US tended to produce shows with more action.

But that’s changing, and Peaky Blinders, which premieres on HOT 3 and HOT VOD on June 2, will prove it.

The story of a family gang run out of Birmingham, whose members are known for their brutality and their penchant for using razor blades to get their way.

The series – which won two BAFTA awards, the British film and television awards – stars Cillian Murphy, the pretty-boy Irish actor, who has often been cast as a villain, notably in The Dark Knight in which he played Scarecrow.

If you’re going to watch Peaky Blinders, you may need to read the Hebrew titles a bit, as the actors’ accents can be hard to understand at times. You’ll also need to be prepared to pay close attention to the first episode, in which the crime family and its enemies are introduced. But if you’re willing to stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with an intelligent and suspenseful crime series.

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