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The Jerusalem Cinematheque has moved its operations to the ICC Jerusalem theaters at Binyenei Ha'uma while renovations are underway, and it's a classic case of good news/bad news. The best news, in the long run, is that the Cinematheque will be renovated, since its current building has become cramped and too small for all its activities, especially during the film festival. The renovation is projected to take ten months and is obviously intended to be completed in time for next summer's festival. The bad news, of course, is that it will not be in its usual building, with its glorious view of the Old City from the caf terrace and its proximity to the restaurants and cafes in the German Colony. However, for some Cinematheque fans, there are actually advantages to the new location. For anyone who comes to the Cinematheque from the Tel Aviv area or anywhere outside the city, the ICC is far more convenient and there is a large parking lot. It's true that the area around Binyenei Ha'uma doesn't offer much in the way of diversions, although there is a caf there and the Central Bus Station across the street has an Aroma Caf . If you manage to banish any associations with Nazi trials from your mind (the trials of both Adolf Eichmann and John "Ivan" Demjanjuk were held at Binyenei Ha'uma), then you can concentrate on the fact that the auditoriums at the ICC Jerusalem are very comfortable. The Cinematheque is using two currently, and the ICC has the other two for films that play for longer runs.
Orthodox movie fans will be pleased to discover that they won't have to miss any more programs, because, in its new location, the Cinematheque will be closed on the Sabbath.
In the end, I think the Cinematheque audiences will manage to transform the theater and the area in their own image. On the first night of the Cinematheque's operations in its temporary home, in spite of the fact that most newspapers did not list the evening's program, a sizeable crowd turned out and one that was much younger than I've ever seen for any event there before.
The Jerusalem Cinematheque has a stellar lineup for the rest of the summer. For starters, there are movies that are eligible to be nominated for the Ophir Awards, the Israeli Oscars. A number of these were shown at the film festival and one of the best is Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud, which is playing on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. It's a bittersweet look at a boy growing up on a kibbutz in the Seventies whose mother drifts in and out of mental illness.
The program this week that will probably draw the greatest interest is a series of films about the disengagement from the Gaza Strip last summer, "Disengagement in the Eye of the Camera," which will be shown on Monday and Tuesday. There will be nine films shown in all, as well as two panel discussions that will be held each evening at 8:30 p.m. Monday night's discussion will be on the topic, "Shooting Disengagement" and will feature several filmmakers who recorded the event. Tuesday's is on "Displacement: One Year Later" and will be moderated by Ilana Dayan. The films include Yoav Shamir's 5 Days, a record of the last days in Gaza, on Monday at 3:30 p.m.; Mordi Kirshner and Noam Demsky's Yedidia's Collection, a look at a boy living in Gaza who collected debris from Qassam missiles, on Monday at 5:15; Ziv Alexandrony's And Behold, There Came a Great Wind, about three Gush Katif residents, on Monday at 7 p.m.; Gil Karni's Troubled Waters, about a partnership between Jewish and Palestinian fishermen that was disrupted by the disengagement, on Tuesday at 4 p.m.; and Monica Granassi's Gaza: The Fight for Israel, also a look at the actual days of the evacuation.
There are also several films that focus on single families and how they coped prior to and during the disengagement: Noam Shalev's The Last Stand, on Monday at 6 p.m.; Yohai Rosenberg's Displacement on Tuesday at 3 p.m.; and Mira Leshem's Last Harvest at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Just remember to head for Binyenei Ha'uma and not Derech Hebron.
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