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:: Spotlight :: 2010 AICE Israeli Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

With a dynamic program that reveals this vibrant culture in its many guises, the 7th annual AICE Israeli Film Festival will be held in Melbourne and Sydney from mid-August to early September 2010. Showcasing the best features and documentaries produced by Israel’s burgeoning movie industry over the last 12 months, the Festival provides the opportunity for lovers of fine cinema to savour many films that have never before screened in this country.

“I’m thrilled with our 2010 Festival line-up,” said Festival founder Albert Dadon, “particularly as it highlights the creative richness of Israel’s film industry. Israeli cinema has come a long way in recent years, garnering the respect of Europe’s cinema community, which is evident in the many international co-productions we’ve programmed. I’m thoroughly delighted to be able to screen these films to Australian audiences and proud that we’re able to do so.”

AJAMI, the multi-award winning Israeli/German co-production, which took top honours in five major categories (including Best Film) at the 2009 Israeli Academy Awards, as well as a 2010 Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, will screen on opening night in both cities. Critically feted worldwide, AJAMI highlights the many levels of conflict in Israel via a series of five, inter-related chapters set amidst the explosive Jaffa neighbourhood of the same name.

Indeed, many of the films in this year’s Festival examine the inherent cultural clashes of this diverse land as well as exploring life amongst Israel’s ultra-orthodox as they strive to exist alongside contemporary Western society. One such film, which excited much controversy at the Israeli box office, is EYES WIDE OPEN, an Israeli/French/German co-production that explores homosexuality amidst Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox community. The ‘Haredim’ trilogy of documentaries which include GEVALD!, THE RABBI’S DAUGHTER & THE MIDWIFE and RELIGION.COM also look at how progress has impacted upon Israel’s more devout citizens.

21st century life and its complexities are brought to the fore with PHOBIDILIA and A MATTER OF SIZE. Visually inventive and totally mesmerizing, PHOBIDILIA introduces us to a man who has discovered that in today’s world, all of his needs can be met without leaving his apartment. And modern society’s fixation with the ‘body beautiful’ gets a fresh take in A MATTER OF SIZE, an endearing comedy about a 160 kilo chef, whose life is a series of diets and fitness regimes – until he and his equally Rubenesque buddies discover the world of Sumo wrestling, where flab is fab!

The Festival also has its share of international actors including Olga Kurylenko, the latest Bond femme fatale from QUANTUM OF SOLACE who stars in WALLS, and Joseph Fiennes who leads a stellar cast in SPRING 1941, a sweeping family drama set amidst the turbulent days of WW II that can also lay claim to being the first co-production between Israel and Poland. Also revisiting the Holocaust is the stunning feature-length documentary A FILM UNFINISHED, which reveals a 70-year-old lie. The recipient of Awards at Toronto, Sundance and Silverdocs, this startling film looks at how the Nazi propaganda machine manipulated camera crews to depict supposedly ‘everyday scenes’ of life in the infamous Warsaw Ghetto. An Israeli/German co-production in Polish, Yiddish and German, A FILM UNFINISHED is a must-see.

Established in 2004, the AICE Israeli Film Festival is a vital initiative of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE), an organization committed to furthering the cultural ties between Australia and Israel, which was formed in 2002 by Melbourne-based businessman, Albert Dadon AM. AICE also presents the AICE Australian Film Festival, which recently finished screening its 7th annual season across four Israeli cities.

Venues and dates for the AICE Israeli Film Festival 2010 are as follows:
Melbourne: August 17 - 22 - Palace Como & Palace Brighton Bay
Sydney: August 31 - September 5 - Palace Verona Cinema

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