A feast of famous films

This month, the local cinematheques are screening a plethora of classic movies, as well as new releases.

Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There are special programs at the cinematheques throughout the month of September to match the number of holidays that fall so early this year.
If you missed some of the movies you wanted to see this year, have no fear. The Jerusalem Cinematheque is showing the year’s top hits throughout the month, starting with Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo.
During Succot, the Jerusalem Cinematheque will feature a program of movie classics. All movie lovers should jump at the rare opportunity to see wonderful films such as Gone with the Wind, West Side Story and many others on the big screen. My pick: Roman Holiday at 10 p.m. on September 20. Its stars, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, playing, respectively, a down-on-his luck journalist and a runaway princess, were never more charming or more gorgeous, and that’s saying something.
The Jerusalem Cinematheque has something for everyone, including children. On September 15, actor/comedian/writer Guri Alfi will host a conversation for children preceding a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times at 5 p.m. The dark comedy classic, which combines equal doses of slapstick humor and social commentary, was filmed in 1936. It has a soundtrack of noises but otherwise is a silent movie that depicts the tribulations of Chaplin’s tramp persona as his work on an assembly line turns him into a nervous wreck.
Sophisticated kids will get food for thought from this film, and Alfi’s introduction will put it into context.
On September 17 at 4 p.m., the Jerusalem Cinematheque will screen the 3-D children’s fantasy movie Epic, followed by a workshop on succa decorating and a picnic. The Wacky Film Club will show Rob Reiner’s comedy-adventure classic The Princess Bride on September 26 at 9 p.m. This is a wonderful movie for all ages, but parents should prepare their children for the fact that there will be a talk before the film by Alon Gur Arye about what makes the movie a classic.
Director Ari Folman’s latest film, The Congress, a mix of animation and live action starring Robin Wright and Jon Hamm (Mad Men), will be opening the Haifa International Film Festival on September 19 and opening throughout Israel on September 26. To celebrate Folman’s work, the Jerusalem Cinematheque is having a retrospective of his films beginning on September 20. His most famous film, the Golden Globe-winning Waltz with Bashir, will be shown, but you can also catch his earlier films.
Saint Clara, which he made with his frequent collaborator Ori Sivan, was one of the best Israeli films of the 1990s. It stars Lucy Dubinchik as Clara, a clairvoyant teen living in a dystopian town on the periphery whose abilities are used by her friends and family for all kinds of purposes. It is playing on September 20 at 10 p.m., along with Comfortably Numb, a 1991 film that Folman and Sivan made about the First Gulf War.
The Tel Aviv Cinematheque is featuring Utopia, the Tel Aviv International Festival of Fantastic Film, from September 21-26. It kicks off with Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, an apocalyptic comedy about a group of British friends who try to recreate a pub crawl they made 20 years earlier. The only trouble is, as they make their way to the World’s End pub, they discover that their hometown has become overrun by lifelike robots. The festival will also show digitally remastered copies of the classic films A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Donnie Darko, among many other attractions at the festival.
Starting the week on September 7, the Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv cinematheques will present the ninth Portuguese Film Week. Sponsored by the Portuguese Film Institute, the Portuguese Cultural Institute and the Portuguese Embassy, this mini-festival will show the best of recent Portuguese cinema. The films include Florbela, Vicente Alves do O’s award-winning biopic about the life of Florbela Espanca, one of Portugal’s leading 20thcentury poets. In addition, the Jerusalem Cinematheque will feature an exhibition of movie posters from Portugal.