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Two special programs open at the Jerusalem Cinematheque this week, a Brazilian Film Festival and films to mark Pride Week. The Brazilian festival gets underway on Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. with Bruno Barreto's Romeo and Juliet Got Married, a comic look at a romance between the supporters of two of Brazil's rival soccer teams. Barreto is a versatile director who mixes comedies such as Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976) and Bossa Nova (2000) with serious political thrillers like Four Days in September (1997). His movies often feature Amy Irving, the mother of his child, who starred in Brian de Palma's Carrie and Barbra Streisand's Yentl, as well as such recent films as Traffic (and who was Steven Spielberg's first wife). It will be preceded by a performance of Brazilian music by the Ezequiel Jait Sextet at 8:30 p.m.
A NUMBER OF THE PRIDE WEEK films are made by Israelis. Eytan Fox's Yossi & Jagger (2002), perhaps the best known Israeli movie on a gay theme, is showing on Monday at 5 p.m. Originally made for television, this story of a secret love affair between two male IDF soldiers serving on the Lebanese border was released theatrically and won awards around the world. Among this movie's many extraordinary qualities is the fact that it tells its entire story in only 65 minutes, which makes me think that all moviemakers should be forced to keep their films down to 65 minutes or less. But the truth is, most filmmakers don't have the talent to tell such a moving story so concisely. Fox's most recent film, The Bubble, about a love affair between a Jewish Tel Aviv resident and a Palestinian (an affair that is very public on Sheinkin Street but must be kept secret in Nablus), will be shown on Wednesday at 10 p.m. and is also playing in theaters throughout Israel. Dan Wolman's Tied Hands, which just had its premiere at the Jerusalem Film Festival, is playing on Monday night at 7 p.m. This film stars Gila Almagor as a mother caring for her son, a dancer (Ido Tadmor), who is dying of AIDS, and chronicles her nighttime odyssey of trying to buy marijuana to ease his discomfort. Other than the fact that it's hard to believe that anyone, even a square senior citizen, could have trouble buying grass in Tel Aviv, it's an affecting film that is not as much of a downer as it might sound like from this description.
Tomer Heyman has gotten a lot of publicity for his documentary Paper Dolls, about a group of Filipino workers in Tel Aviv who care for the elderly by day and do a drag cabaret act at night. It's playing on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. In the "I really don't want to know" category is Yair Hochner's Good Boys, a documentary about a 17-year-old male prostitute in Tel Aviv (just what you need to take your mind off the katyushas), which will be shown on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Of the international gay films being shown, one of the standouts is Jean-Marc Vallee's C.R.A.Z.Y., which is playing on Thursday at 5 p.m. and at midnight. The director and some of the cast visited Israel this spring as part of the French Film Festival to publicize this offbeat coming-of-age tale about a young gay man in Canada.
THIS MONTH, the Jerusalem Cinematheque is also featuring a tribute to Isabelle Huppert, which coincides with an exhibit of photographs of the French actress. Huppert is an unusual actress, in that her style is low-key and minimalist, but she manages to be extremely affecting all the same. Unlike American movie stars, she doesn't shy away from characters who have dark sides or are often downright unlikable. On Sunday, at 7:30 p.m., there's Loulou, the 1981 Maurice Pialat film about a crazed love affair between a petty thief, played by a very young Gerard Depardieu, and Huppert's bright, respectable character. On Thursday at 7:30 p.m., you can see Huppert as a sullen whore in Jean-Luc Godard's 1980 Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie) (Every Man for Himself). Strictly for Godard fans, it's an essential bridge between Godard's distinctive, political, and dramatic early work and what a layperson (not a movie critic) might call his later, crazy years, when much of his films consist of him addressing the camera and ranting philosophically, often in heavily accented English.
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