Docu.Text festival at National Library to show films that spotlight words

The festival shows films that examine the impact of words on society, through recent documentary films on the themes of culture, identity and memory.

August 18, 2019 16:35
3 minute read.
'Mike Wallace is Here' is directed by Israeli-born Avi Belkin

'Mike Wallace is Here' is directed by Israeli-born Avi Belkin. (photo credit: DOGWOOF)

The Docu.Text Documentary Film Festival, which is run by the National Library of Israel, and which is held in collaboration with the Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival, will take place at the library from August 18-22.

The festival shows films that examine the impact of words on society, through recent documentary films on the themes of culture, identity and memory.

It includes extensive cultural events and activities, including musical performances, and invites viewers to look at the source materials of the films whenever possible, including documents, photographs, newspaper clippings and letters.

This year, the organizers have chosen to look at the phenomenon of “fake news” troubling the world, and the technological and communication capabilities that have given it an unprecedented impact. The festival’s one-day seminar “For Truth’s Sake,” will discuss the issues of cultural responsibility and creative copyright, and will examine the place of the library, which is charged with preservation of knowledge during a time when, more than ever, people choose to believe “alternative facts.” The seminar will be held in cooperation with the Forum of Documentary Filmmakers.

A virtual reality complex, which has been set up for the first time, will present among other works, Zikr: A Sufi Revival by Studio Sensorium, through which visitors can take part in the ceremony. The creators will hold an open discussion with the audience, revealing the processes they used and challenges they faced.

Among the films will be Mike Wallace is Here, directed by Israeli-born Avi Belkin, a look at the career of the hard-hitting journalist who created the 60 Minutes newsmagazine TV show, an interviewer who took no prisoners and was called a “son of a bitch” by Barbra Streisand.

Moynihan, directed by Joseph Dorman and Toby Perl Freilich, is a portrait of US senator, intellectual and ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a complex man who made friends and enemies all along the political spectrum. His famous remark, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” is often quoted in this age of fake news. Among those interviewed about Moynihan are Henry Kissinger, Sen. Chuck Schumer, columnist George Will and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Freilich will be present at the screening and will take part in a discussion led by Mike Herzog about the film.

Sabine Lidl’s Paul Auster: What If is about a meeting with acclaimed author Auster at his home in Brooklyn. Auster gives insights into his childhood and family history, and the film combines passages from his recent novel 4321 with Auster’s own biography.

There will also be a number of Israeli movies shown during the festival. Golda, a new documentary about the legendary prime minister Golda Meir, by Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir and Shani Rozanes, is based on footage found when Meir spoke candidly after a TV interview had ended but the cameras kept rolling. Bornstein and Nir will be present for a discussion following the screening.

Morris Ben-Mayor and Kobi Farag’s Spotting Yossi is a look at the life and career of musician Yossi Banai, based on interviews, concert footage and recently discovered archival material.

Levantine by Rafael Balulu traces the footsteps of Levantine thinker and author Jacqueline Kahanoff.

The Rabbi from Hezbollah by Itamar Chen tells the incredible true story of Avraham Sinai, an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Israel who was born Ibrahim Yassin, a Lebanese Muslim with deep ties to Hezbollah who became an Israeli spy.

Eran Shapiro’s The Monument is a virtual-reality short film about Semyon, a 90-year-old engineer and inventor from Yeruham, whose dream is to build a monument surrounded by flowers at the entrance to the city, to the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis.

Michael Aronzon’s The Little Things is a moving portrait of the son of a revered rabbi, Menachem Fruman, who begins to questions his religious faith.

Dani Menkin’s Picture of His Life is about legendary wildlife still photographer Amos Nachoum’s quest to swim with a polar bear and document the moment.

The closing event will be a screening of the film, Iraq’n’Roll, a documentary about the musical heritage of musician Dudu Tassa, which will be followed by a performance by Tassa.

For more information and to order tickets, go to the festival website:

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