Movie Review: Films galore

TLVFest and Cinema of the South open this week.

Movies at TLVFest and Cinema of the South (photo credit: PR)
Movies at TLVFest and Cinema of the South
(photo credit: PR)
Two very Israeli film festivals are opening this week — the Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival (TLVFest), which runs from June 6 to 15 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque; and the Cinema of the South Festival, which takes place from June 7 to 11 at the Sderot Cinematheque.
TLVFest features the best of contemporary gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cinema.
Dozens of recent films from around the world and from Israel will be screened, and there are four competitions: Best Narrative Film, Best Documentary, Best International Short Film and Best Israeli Short Film. There will also be special screenings of Israeli LGBT cinema and a Panorama section of programs from around the world.
The opening-night film is Jamie Babbit’s Fresno (also known as Addicted to Fresno), a black comedy that stars Natasha Lyonne of Orange Is the New Black as a lesbian who develops a crush on a straight gymnast. Judy Greer and Aubrey Plaza also star.
Guests of the festival will include Mark Christopher, who will present the director’s cut of his film 54, about the heyday of the legendary disco, starring Mike Myers as Steve Rubell; Alante Kavaite, who won the Best Director Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for the Lithuanian film The Summer of Sangaile, the story of a young woman studying to become a stunt pilot who forms a bond with her instructor; and Angela Robinson, a writer/director/ producer of television and films, who has written for True Blood and The L Word and whose film D.E.B.S., a Charlie’s Angels-inspired comedy/thriller, will be screened.
Two legendary drag queens, Sherry Vine and Gloria Viagra, will participate in the festival.
For more details and to order tickets, go to the festival website at The Sderot Cinematheque is hosting its annual Cinema of the South Festival, which will run from June 7 to 11. All events and screenings are free. The festival celebrates Israeli cinema that is set in the periphery of the country, as well as international films from the Southern Hemisphere. It’s always a very lively festival.
This year, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will preside at the opening ceremony on the evening of June 7.
The opening film will be the documentary Here and Not There by Danae Elon. It is an intimate family portrait that deals with the director’s decision to move to Jerusalem, against the wishes of her father, writer Amos Elon.
The closing-night movie will be Lee Gilat’s Encirclements (Hakafot), a drama starring Lior Ashkenazi and Assi Levy. It tells the story of a family whose conflicts are heightened when their 13-year-old son is chosen to hold the Torah scroll at Simhat Torah celebrations in his neighborhood.
Another highlight of the festival will be Elad Keidan’s Afterthought, an allegorical drama set in Haifa starring Itay Turan and Uri Klauzner, which just had its world premiere at Cannes.
Among the festival guests will be Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa, Algerian-Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz, Uzbeki actor Ali Khamraev and German filmmaker Pia Marais.
There will be a retrospective of films by Egyptian-born Moshe Mizrahi, who lived in Israel and won an Oscar for a French film, Madam Rosa. Among his works shown at the festival will be Guest in a Dead Season, which was screened only once, at the Berlin Film Festival in 1970, and will have its decades-delayed Israel premiere. Other films by Mizrahi to be screened at the festival include the Oscar-nominated The House on Chelouche Street and I Love You, Rosa; and Every Time We Say Goodbye, starring Tom Hanks.
The festival will feature competitions of movies by film students at Sapir College, which is located in Sderot and sponsors the festival. There will be special programs of films by local youth, as well as all kinds of cultural events that will feature music, theater and various forms of art.
For information on the Cinema of the South Festival, go to the Sderot Cinematheque website at http://