Living legends and restored classics

The 35th Haifa International Film Festival, which runs from October 12 to 21 at the Haifa Cinematheque and other theaters around the city, will present the best of contemporary and classic cinema.

GUY NATTIV’S ‘SKIN’ (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 35th Haifa International Film Festival, which runs from October 12 to 21 at the Haifa Cinematheque and other theaters around the city, will present the best of contemporary and classic cinema, from Israel and around the world.
A long list of distinguished guests will be attending, among them two living legends: director Claude Lelouch and actress Anouk Aimée. They will present a special screening of their 1966 classic, A Man and a Woman, as well as of their new film, The Best Years of a Life, in which the protagonists reunite.
In the Masters section, director Agnieszka Holland will present her latest film, Mr. Jones, a gripping account of a Welsh journalist who risked his life to expose the famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, and Hans Petter Moland will present Out Stealing Horses.
Another highlight of the Masters section will be a digitally restored version of Avi Nesher’s Taxman, a 1999 movie he made when he was working in Hollywood. The neo-noir Taxman, which has become a cult classic, stars Joe Pantoliano, (The Sopranos, The Matrix and Memento) as a crusading IRS inspector who tries to bring down the Russian mob in Brighton Beach. Elizabeth Berkley, who stars as a Russian mobster’s daughter, is best known for her role in Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls, which will be shown in the Classics section. A documentary about Showgirls, You Don’t Nomi, by Jeffrey McHale, will also be shown.
Stephan Elliott, the director of the much loved The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Jungle, will attend screenings of this film.
The festival will open with James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari, which stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale as an American car designer and driver who built a car to challenge Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966. Ford v Ferrari will open in theaters throughout Israel on November 14.
The closing-night film will be an adaptation of the acclaimed Jonathan Lethem novel Motherless Brooklyn, which was directed by, and stars, Edward Norton. He plays a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome in 1950s New York.
The Gala section will include Guy Nattiv’s Skin, a full-length version of his Oscar-winning short film based on the true story of a skinhead (Jamie Bell) who sees the error of his ways after he falls for a vulnerable single mother.
Other much-anticipated films in this section include two biopics about iconic female entertainers: Judy, the Judy Garland biopic starring Renée Zellweger, which has received major Oscar buzz, and Seberg, the Jean Seberg biopic starring Kristen Stewart.
Marthe Cohn, the 99-year-old Jewish author and nurse who was a spy in Nazi Germany, will present a documentary celebrating her life, Chichinette – The Accidental Spy, which will be shown in the Between Jewish and  Israeli Identity section.
Helena Trestíková will be present at screenings of Forman vs. Forman, her documentary about Oscar-winning director Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank, by Gerald Fox, examines the life and work of the master American photographer, who died in September.
The Israeli competitions offer a rich selection this year. The feature films include Yaron Shani’s Reborn, the third film in his Love Trilogy; Good News, by Erez Tadmor, about a couple who are going through fertility treatments; and Evgeny Ruman’s Golden Voices is about two Russian voice actors who were stars in the Soviet Union and who discover that Israel is not waiting with open arms when they immigrate in the 1990s.
The documentaries will include Tal Michael’s Bukra fil Mish-Mish the story of Didier Frenkel, who discovers after his uncles’ deaths that they had a life they kept hidden as the animators behind Mish-Mish Effendi, the Arab equivalent of Mickey Mouse.
Other competitions in the festival will include the Carmel Competition of International Cinema and the Golden Anchor Competition for films from countries that border the Mediterranean. There are children’s films, midnight movies and classics.
The films mentioned here are only a fraction of all the films in the festival, so for more information, go to the website at