With an Indian film festival running from January 5-18, the Sixth British Film Festival from January 19-28, a retrospective of films by Ram Loevy, and a look back at the best films of 2005, January is an exciting month at the country's cinematheques.
The Jerusalem Cinematheque is also spotlighting a number of films that ran in the Jewish Film Festival last month, most notably Hill 24 Doesn't Answer (1955) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. If you missed that one in December, take this chance to see it. Although somewhat dated, it's a fascinating look at how Israel hoped to present itself for its first international cinematic close-up. Other films from the Jewish Film Festival this week include The Goebbels Experiment on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. - a portrait of the Nazi propaganda minister who killed his wife and children before committing suicide, narrated by Kenneth Branagh.
WOODY ALLEN'S latest movie Match Point has its premiere at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. before it is released throughout the country. The film, which is set in London (an unusual choice for lifelong New Yorker Allen) and features a mostly British cast, including Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (the coach in Bend It Like Beckham), Emily Mortimer (Bright Young Things, Dear Frankie) and Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Girl With a Pearl Earring), has been hailed as Allen's best work in over a decade.
TWO PROGRAMS about art will be given Tuesday night at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The first, at 7 p.m., features the documentary A Portrait of an Artist: Marcel Janco, which is a look at Janco - one of the founders of the Dada movement - who arrived in Palestine in the Thirties from Romania and helped found the artists' community in Ein Hod. The screening will be preceded by a lecture on Janco by Raya Zommer-Tal, director of the Janco-Dada Museum in Ein Hod. At 9:30 p.m., there will be a collection of surrealist movies from the Cinematheque's archives, including the 1928 Un Chien Andalou, directed by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, and a 1957 short by a very young Roman Polanski.
A FEW of the most noted films of 2005 will also be offered, including Alexander Payne's Sideways on Monday at 7:30 p.m. The story of two friends, one a failed actor (Thomas Haden Church) and the other a high-school teacher and aspiring novelist (Paul Giamatti) as they travel through California's wine country, Sideways dominated the critics' awards in the US last year. This year, Brokeback Mountain has been winning the bulk of the awards. The most pleasant surprise of the awards season so far is that the National Board of Review named Eytan Fox's Walk On Water one of the top five foreign films of the year. The NBR chose Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now, the story of two Palestinian suicide bombers, as the year's top foreign film. Paradise Now is playing at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Sunday at 7 p.m. Another of the NBR's top foreign film choices, Wong Kar-Wai's 2046, will be playing at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Wednesday and Thursday at 5 p.m. It's a moody, slow-paced romance with some science fiction elements, starring Tony Leung and Gong Li. Anyone who enjoyed the director's last film, In the Mood for Love, which is playing at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., will want to see 2046.
ISRAELI DIRECTOR Ram Loevy, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Haifa Film Festival, has had a long and varied career in movies and television. Two of his early short films are playing at the Jerusalem Cinematheque at 6 p.m., I Am Ahmed (1966), billed as the first film made in Hebrew from an Arab point of view, and Rose Water from Port Said (1972), the story of three women who return to Port Said in the Thirties after years in Australia. At 9:30 p.m. on Monday, you can see Loevy's Winter Games (1988), the story of two children in Palestine in 1943 who help hide an underground fighter for Jewish independence.