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While the debate rages about whether the Gay Pride Parade should be held in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Cinematheque is showing a film about a homosexual dancer dying of AIDS - Dan Wolman's Tied Hands.
This plot summary doesn't really do the film justice, though, because it's more about the complex relationship between the dancer and his mother (Gila Almagor), and a meditation on what it means to try to redeem yourself by repairing your relationship with another human being.
Opponents of the parade might point to the fact that the film is set in Tel Aviv as evidence that the parade should take place there; but no matter what happens with the parade, Tied Hands is worth seeing. It is the Cinematheque's first movie of the month for November and will be screened through November 14 on Sunday-Thursday evenings at 5 p.m., 7:15 and 9:30, plus Saturday nights at 9:30.
Starting November 16, Dror Sabo's Dead End will be playing at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on the same schedule. The surprise winner of the Wolgin Award for Best Israeli Feature at the Jerusalem Film Festival this summer, it's an offbeat look at a reality TV show and the rehabilitation of a soldier.
Judd Ne'eman, the director who won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Haifa Film Festival last month, is the subject of a retrospective this month at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. On Thursday at 7 p.m., there will be a screening of his controversial 1989 film Streets of Yesterday, starring Alon Abutbul in a thriller about the assassination of an Israeli foreign minister. Making his acceptance speech in Haifa, Ne'eman spoke of the film, saying that when it was released, critics complained it was far fetched but, following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, it seems prescient.
British director Marc Isaacs will be present at the screenings of two of his films at the Jerusalem Cinematheque this week - Philip and His Seven Wives on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. and Calais on Monday at 9:30 p.m. Philip is a documentary about a former rabbi who claims to be married to seven women (all of whom live with him), and Calais is about the destruction of a refugee camp in that French port town. On Tuesday at 8 p.m. you can see Isaacs's Lift - probably his best-known film. In Lift, he stands in an elevator in an apartment building in Britain with his camera for 10 hours a day, with some surprising results.
THE JERUSALEM CINEMATHEQUE is also featuring a tribute to Federico Fellini throughout the month. This week several of his early films are showing, including The White Sheik (1952), his first film as sole director, which tells the story of a young bride obsessed with meeting a movie star on her honeymoon in Rome. It's playing on Saturday night at 9:30.
I Vitelloni, his second film, tells the story of five 30-something men, frustrated and bored in their small town. It's showing at 7:30 on Sunday night. I Vitelloni inspired many other filmmakers, from Martin Scorsese to Jim Jarmusch, as did Fellini's La Strada, which is showing on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Starring Fellini's wife Giulietta Masina as a waif picked up by a brutal traveling showman (Anthony Quinn), La Strada is probably the ultimate tragic road-trip movie about an abused innocent, raised above clich by Masina's inspired performance as a forlorn clown. Masina did equally impressive work as the childlike prostitute in Le Notti di Cabiria is showing on Thursday at 6 p.m. - another film that has inspired countless imitations, such as Sweet Charity, a musical remake starring Shirley MacLaine. The character Massina plays in this film played a small role in The White Sheik.
A lesser-known classic, L'Amore in Citta (1953), featuring short films in the Neo-Realist style by Fellini and Antonioni, among others, is playing on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Fellini's segment, about a matchmaking bureau, is about a journalist who goes undercover as a man looking for a bride, and the country girl he meets. The original tagline on the movie's posters read: "You see love as it really is... RAW! REVEALING! SHOCKING!"
Fifty-three years later, it's hard to imagine it will seem quite so racy, but with these directors and this premise, it's worth checking out.
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