Doubly lucky

36th Jerusalem Film Festival offers dazzling array of movies from here and abroad.

July 17, 2019 19:27
3 minute read.
Doubly lucky

‘PARASITE’. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The 36th Jerusalem Film Festival will be doubly lucky, as the festival presents great movies from around the world and the best of Israeli cinema.

The festival will run from July 25-August 4 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and will open with a screening of Joon-ho Bong’s thriller Parasite at the Sultan’s Pool amphitheater. Parasite won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year.

The festival will take place mainly at the Jerusalem Cinematheque but will also feature special events and screenings all over the city, including at most of the city’s movie theaters. In addition, JFF on the Go will bring free screenings to neighborhoods all over the city.

Special outdoor events will include a free of charge screening of ‘Back to the Future’ accompanied by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and a 20th anniversary screening of The Matrix along with a performance by the rapper Tuna.

On July 28, the festival will celebrate Short Film Day, with Pitch Point events for short films; Location: Jerusalem, a program of great short films shot here; and several other screenings of short films.

Guests will include Dr. Ruth Westheimer who will be presenting a new documentary about her life, Ask Dr. Ruth, by Ryan White. Other guests will include Charles B. Wessler, the Oscar-winning producer of Green Book, and actress Sarah Steele of The Good Wife and The Good Fight, who will be giving master classes as part of the festival’s pitching event. Frédéric Tcheng, the director of the documentary Halston, and Yolande Zauberman, director of M, a movie about a young ultra-Orthodox man with an upsetting secret, will also attend. 

As always, there will be competitions for the best Israeli feature films, documentaries and shorts.

The Gala section will feature some of the year’s most talked-about films from all over the world, including Vox Lux, which stars Natalie Portman as a troubled pop diva; Neil Jordan’s latest film, Greta, starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz in a mystery about a widow and a young woman who befriends her; and If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).

Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory, about a filmmaker whose life falls apart, starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, will be shown in the international competition.

The In the Spirit of Freedom Competition, which shows movies of all types about human rights, includes Cambodian director Rithy Pranh’s Graves Without a Name, about his attempt to locate the final resting place of his relatives killed by the Khmer Rouge, and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s The Rest, about the migrant crisis.

The Masters section will feature Francois Ozon’s moving drama about sexual abuse by the clergy, By the Grace of God; the Dardenne brothers’ Young Ahmed, the story of a Belgian boy from a Muslim family who is radicalized; and Olivier Assayas’s Non-Fiction, with Juliette Binoche, a look at a publisher and writer who experience their midlife crises together.

Other sections of the festival will include a retrospective of films by Pawel Pawlikowski, the director of the Oscar-winning Ida, whose most recent film was Cold War; JFF Classics will include Ridley Scott’s Alien, which was released 40 years ago, as well as a digitally restored print of the late Israeli director Amos Guttman’s Bar 51, which was created by the Israel Film Archive at the Cinematheque.

The Cinemania section will feature the engaging documentary What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael by Rob Garver, a look at the life and work of the legendary New Yorker film critic.

This year there will be a new prize in memory of Nechama Rivlin, the late wife of President Reuven Rivlin, which will be awarded as part of the Pitchpoint Contest for promising Israeli feature films.

The Jerusalem Film Workshop will present films by young filmmakers from all over the world that were made here.

The festival is run by Dr. Noa Regev, the CEO of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the executive director of the festival, and Elad Samorzik, its artistic director.

Tickets for the Jerusalem Film Festival are on sale now at

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