Big names to light up fifth Arava Film Festival

The festival features the finest in contemporary international and Israeli cinema, films for children and teens, short movies, and movies that were shot during the past year in the Arava.

November 20, 2016 20:44
2 minute read.
BRAZILIAN ACTRESS Sonia Braga stars in Kleber Mendonça Filho’s ‘Aquarius.’

BRAZILIAN ACTRESS Sonia Braga stars in Kleber Mendonça Filho’s ‘Aquarius.’. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The fifth Arava International Film Festival will take place from November 24 to December 3 in the Ashush nature reserve, in the Tzukim community. Films are screened in the evening outdoors.

The festival features the finest in contemporary international and Israeli cinema, films for children and teens, short movies, and movies that were shot during the past year in the Arava.

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The opening-night film will be I Am Not Madame Bovary, a comedy by Xiaogang Feng about a woman, played by Bingbing Fan, one of China’s most popular actresses, who was swindled by her husband and takes on the legal system.

This year there will be an especially distinguished group of guests. These include Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, one of the greatest filmmakers in the world, who will be presenting his latest film, Graduation. The movie tells the story of a man who only wants his daughter to do well on her exams and gets drawn into a web of conflicts.

He will also be at screenings of the Romanian omnibus film Tales of the Golden Age, which he directed part of.

Rúnar Rúnarsson of Iceland will present his acclaimed film, Sparrows, about a teenage boy who has to leave the city and live with his drunken, resentful father in a small village.

Another Icelandic director, Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, will attend the screening of his latest film, Heartstone, a coming-of-age drama about two teenage boys.

In These Are the Rules, Croation director Ognjen Svilicic, who will be at the festival, looks at what happens to the life of a family after their son is victimized.

Stunning Brazilian actress Sonia Braga stars in Aquarius, directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, another festival guest.

The movie tells the story of a woman who fights real-estate developers who want to tear down her home.

Johnny Ma of China will be at the festival to present Old Stone, a movie about a trucker who injures a man and cannot pay his hospital bills.

Among the other films at the festival are Things to Come, starring Isabelle Huppert as a middle-aged philosophy teacher who reevaluates her life after she and her husband split up. Its director, Mia Hansen- Love, won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival.

Cristi Puiu’s latest film, Sieranevada, tells the story of a Romanian family’s struggles after their patriarch dies.

Several Israeli films will be shown, both new titles and classics. The digitally restored version of the 1986 gem Avanti Popolo by the late Rafi Bukai will be screened. The movie tells the story of two Egyptian soldiers, one of them a Shakespearean actor, trapped behind Israeli lines at the close of the Six Day War.

Two new, highly acclaimed films by female Israeli directors will be shown. Maha Haj’s Personal Affairs, the story of an Israeli-Arab family, was one of the big hits of the Haifa International Film Festival, where it took the Best Israeli Feature Award. Elite Zexer’s Sand Storm, about a Beduin mother and daughter, won a host of prizes around the world, including the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Ophir Award here for Best Picture.

For more details and to order tickets, go to the festival website at

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