Four Israeli movies to be screened at Venice Film Festival

Gitai, one of Israel's most prominent filmmakers, is best known for 2007's 'Disengagement' and 2005's 'Free Zone.'

July 26, 2018 06:23
2 minute read.
A SCENE from 'Tel Aviv on Fire' by Samach Zuabi.

A SCENE from 'Tel Aviv on Fire' by Samach Zuabi. . (photo credit: ISRAEL FILM FUND)


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Four Israeli films will be among those taking part in the prestigious Venice Film Festival which opens at the end of August.

A Tramway in Jerusalem
and A Letter to a Friend in Gaza, both by Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, will be part of the lineup in Venice, festival organizers announced on Wednesday. In addition, two films with Israeli roots will be competing in the festival's Horizons competition.

Gitai's A Tramway in Jerusalem, which is a full-length feature, and A Letter to a Friend in Gaza, which is a short non-fiction work, will be screening out of competition.

In February, Orange Studio picked up distribution rights to A Tramway in Jerusalem, which is set, of course, on Jerusalem's often controversial light rail.

According to Variety, the film "takes place on a tramway that connects several of the city’s neighborhoods, from east to west, bringing together a mosaic of people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds." The film stars Israeli singer Achinoam Nini, French actor Mathieu Almaric and Israeli actors Hana Laszlo, Yael Abecassis and Yuval Scharf.

A Letter to a Friend in Gaza, which will premiere at the Jerusalem Film Festival before it appears in Venice, "explores the return to Palestinian villages while interjecting texts by Izhar Smilansky, Emile Habibi, Mahmoud Darwish, and Amira Hass," according to the festival.

Gitai, one of Israel's most prominent filmmakers, is best known for 2007's Disengagement and 2005's Free Zone.

Two additional films with Israeli roots will be partaking in the festival's Horizons competition, which runs parallel to the main competition and focuses on new trends in filmmaking.

One such film is Yaron Shani's Stripped, which is about a woman who wakes up with the terrible feeling that she has been raped. Shani is best known for the 2009 movie Ajami, which won that year's Ophir Award for best film and went on to be nominated for the foreign language Academy Award.

Tel Aviv on Fire, directed by Samach Zuabi, is also competing in the Horizons section. The comedy film features a 30-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem who works on a popular soap opera, which leads him to an odd friendship with the IDF commander whose checkpoint he passes through each day.

Both of the Israeli films in the 2018 Horizons competition received partial funding from the Israel Film Fund.

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