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:: Spotlight :: 2009 AICE Israeli Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Celebrating its 6th season in 2009, the AICE Israeli Film Festival will take place in Melbourne and Sydney from August 25 until September 6 with a vibrant programme showcasing the best of contemporary Israeli cinema.

With a dynamic line-up of seven new features and four compelling documentaries, along with a special presentation of three award-winning short films from the renowned Ma’ale Film School in Jerusalem, the AICE Israeli Film Festival is an absolute must for lovers of fine international cinema.

Founded in 2004, the Festival is a proud initiative of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE), an organization dedicated to furthering the cultural ties between Australia and Israel, formed in 2002 by Melbourne-based businessman, Albert Dadon. AICE also presents the extremely popular AICE Australian Film Festival, held in three cities across Israel, which recently enjoyed its 6th annual season. “Film is a potent means of expression,” observed Dadon, “which provides a window through which we can appreciate the culture of another country. It’s a form of expression that can be enjoyed by people the world-over, whilst simultaneously engendering a greater tolerance and understanding of a way of life that may be different to our own, which has always been one of the Festival’s key objectives.”

Family ties, and their importance, feature heavily in the event’s 2009 line-up, as portrayed in LOST ISLANDS, Israel’s most successful and critically acclaimed movie release of 2008 which will screen on opening night in both Melbourne and Sydney. Directed by Reshef Levy and set in the 1980’s, LOST ISLANDS tells the story of twin brothers, who finds themselves at odds with each other, when forced to choose between family loyalty and personal desire.

Other highlights from this year’s programme include ZRUBAVEL, the first feature-length Israeli drama by Ethiopian-Israeli filmmakers, which follows a multigenerational family of immigrants as they attempt to adjust to their new homeland, and the poignant SEVEN DAYS (which opened Critics’ Week at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival), where against the backdrop of the 1991 Gulf War, a Moroccan family mourn the death of a brother, and in doing so revisit suppressed tensions.

On a lighter note, the wonderfully named documentary YIDDISHE MAMA, looks at a mother trying to prevent her son from marrying the woman of his dreams, who is more akin to the daughter-in-law of her nightmares, whilst CHRONICLE OF A KIDNAP follows a courageous wife’s battle to find her soldier husband, a captive of Hezbollah.

Venues and dates for the AICE Israeli Film Festival 2009 are as follows:
Melbourne - August 25 to 30; Palace Como & Palace Brighton Bay
Sydney - September 1 to 6; Palace Academy Twin

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