Bavarian and Mexican film festivals to open at cinematheques

The cinema of two very different cultures will be the focus of programs at the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv cinematheques next week: the Bavaria region of Germany and Mexico.

 A SCENE from ‘Leona.’   (photo credit: Mexican Embassy in Israel)
A SCENE from ‘Leona.’
(photo credit: Mexican Embassy in Israel)

The Bavarian Film Week will run at the Jerusalem Cinematheque from July 4-9. The opening-night film, Amma & Appa, breaks any stereotypes you might have about rural Germany. It is a documentary that tells the story of a film student and an art student who fall in love. 

There is nothing surprising about that, but she is the daughter of a Bavarian family, and he is from Tamil, India.They make separate visits to their two sets of parents, who are not enthusiastic about their partnership.

Eventually, they decide their parents should meet, thinking that it will either tear them apart or bring them closer together. This documentary plays a bit like a romantic comedy as it explores cultural conflicts and whether love can overcome them. 

Following the screening, there will be a conversation (via Zoom) with the filmmakers Franziska Schönenberger and Jayakrishnan Subramanian

Marcus H. Rosenmüller’s Lifeguard Off Duty is a comedy about an irritable lifeguard at a public swimming pool who bands together with a group of outcasts to save the pool when the mayor announces his plan to sell it to the highest bidder. 

Mariko Minoguchi’s Relativity looks at a love story that becomes complicated after a tragedy strikes and a woman must figure out whether she can try again with another man.

In Sonja Kröner’s The Garden, three generations of a family have to come to terms with each other following their grandmother’s death in a story set in 1976.

Janna Ji Wonders’s family saga, Walchensee Forever, begins and ends on a beautiful lakeshore in Bavaria, where the director’s great-grandmother opened a small café in 1920. It is a complex and dramatic story about five generations of women who all have to find different ways to build the life they want.

Bavarian Film Week

The Bavarian Film Week is supported by the Free State of Bavaria, Office for Economy, Science, Technology, Education and Youth Exchange in Israel and the Goethe-Institut.

DURING THE past 20 years, Mexican directors have become a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, with filmmakers such as Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro making American movies that have won multiple Oscars in the top categories.

From July 7-14, Mexican Film Week at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque ( will celebrate the work of directors still making movies in Mexico, in a program sponsored by the Mexican Embassy in Israel that is celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

These films examine the balance and tension between indigenous and modern cultures, urban and rural life, tradition and modernity and the unique perspective of Mexican Jews. 

The opening film will be Leona, Isaac Cherem’s look at a young Jewish woman who is torn between her family ties and her forbidden love for a gentile man. But this is more than just a Romeo and Juliet story, as it examines the heroine’s journey to discover her true identity. 

Alejandro Márquez Abella’s The Good Girls looks at the impact of the economic crisis in Mexico in 1982 on a well-to-do family and spotlights the stresses they face with gentle humor and understanding. 

Esmeralda’s Twilight is a movie by Ehécatl Garcia that looks at a lonely widow who finds joy again through adopting a piglet. Veteran Mexican actress Concepción Márquez plays the lead role.

Ángeles Cruz’s Nudo Mixteco has won awards all over the world and tells the story of a remote community in the mountains and three women who grew up there and moved away, who now find themselves confronting their sexuality after they move back.

Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson’s Summer White tells the story of a quiet young boy who is very close to his mother and has a hard time coping with her new husband.