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Cartoon to open J'lem film fest
Ratatouille, an animated cartoon feature by Brad Bird, the writer/director of The Incredibles, will be shown at the opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival on July 5. Although more serious fare tends to dominate the festival, starting it with a cartoon is not unprecedented: Shrek was the opening-night movie in 2001. Ratatouille is the story of a Parisian rat that lives inside the walls of a fancy restaurant and has taught himself to cook (and read) by glancing at the pages of a discarded cookbook. The rat longs to be a real chef and gets his chance when he befriends the kitchen errand boy.
Peter O'Toole is the biggest name among the actors providing the characters' voices. The 24th Jerusalem Film Festival will run from July 5-14 and will present 200 films of all types, from Israel and around the world. It will also mark the opening of the renovated Jerusalem Cinematheque on Derech Hebron, which has been housed for nearly a year at Binyanei Ha'Uma while the renovations were taking place. - Hannah Brown
Helen Mirren to star in Gaza film
This year's Oscar winner for best actress, Helen Mirren, has been cast to star in a new film about the Gaza Strip. London's The Sunday Times reported that Mirren will play a Jewish woman living in the Strip whose daughter, a journalist dating a Palestinian, is shot and killed. Producer Andy Harries told the Times that the film is apolitical and is more a "human interest story" than anything else. The film will be directed by Philip Martin and is based on a script by Frank Deasy. Martin and Deasy planned a trip to Gaza in April, but cancelled it after the kidnapping of BBC reporter Alan Johnston. The film will not be shot in Gaza. - Miriam A. Shaviv
Ballet's 40th gets hot this summer
The Israel Ballet is continuing their 40th anniversary celebrations this summer with a slew of new productions that the whole family can enjoy. The Ballet's production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" is aimed at the summer camp crowds and will be performed in cooperation with the community centers across Israel. Twenty performances are already booked.
The Ballet's regular line-up includes "Giselle" and "Onegin." "Onegin" is based on Alexander Pushkin's 19th c. novel exploring the relationship between life and art. It will appear Monday through Wednesday at 8p.m. at the Tel Aviv Center for Performing Arts.
Two soloists from the Dutch National Ballet are also being flown in especially for this production. Call TAPAC at (03) 692-7777 for details.
The Ballet has also announced special courses that will run through the summer. Teachers and tutors from Moscow and St. Petersburg will run six week long courses, two at a basic level and one at an advanced level.
Go to www.iballet.co.il for more information on the Israel Ballet's 40th anniversary events. - Miriam A. Shaviv
German and Israeli writers dialogue
A literary event entitled "German-Israeli Literary Days" is hosting writers from Germany and Israel and tackling the topic of how Israel is perceived in Europe. Young German and Israeli authors will discuss the emotional tensions of their respective countries and social and existential questions will be examined. The event, which began yesterday, will continue through Thursday, June 7.
Throughout the week, five pairs of writers will read from their work and engage in discussion with each other and with the audience. Tonight at 7:30p.m. at Tolaat Sfarim 9 in Tel Aviv's Kikar Rabin, Sarah Shiloh of Haifa and Rabea Edel of Berlin will discuss how women survive in the violent world that surrounds them.
Other authors participating in the week-long event include Gisela Dachs, Rabea Edel, Avirama Golan, Amir Gutfreund, Inge G nther, Orit Kamir, Sayed Kashua, Dorit Rabinyan, Iri Rikin, Shimon Riklin, Michael Roes, Roee Rosen, Peter Schneider, Sarah Shiloh, Sas'a Stanis'ic , Vladimir Vertlib, Benny Ziffer, and Moshe Zuckermann.
For information on other nights' events, go to www.boell.org.il. - Miriam A. Shaviv