Israeli Film Festival


Cinema Nouveau patrons in Johannesburg and Pretoria will be exposed to seven fascinating films from Israel during the end of June and the beginning of July at the Israeli Film Festival.

Topping the list is a 2008 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee, Beaufort, by Joseph Cedar. There is also the multiple award-winning The Band’s Visit, by Eran Korilin, which triumphed at festivals all over Israel, Europe and Australia.
Wisdom of the Pretzel, the first Israeli film to receive international acclaim, is described as “pure Tel Aviv and yet universal in its portrayal of the male perspective on dating’.

Complementing this line-up are Aviva, My Love; Foul Gesture; My Father My Lord; and Noodle.

“Cinema Nouveau takes pride in the cultural enrichment it brings to South Africans, by presenting festivals from various countries. We hope that cinema-goers across South Africa will take advantage of these opportunities to explore the rich and diverse cultures, as presented on our Big Screen,’ says Michelle Roodt, Marketing Executive, Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

The festival commences at Johannesburg’s Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank Mall on 27 June and runs to 3 July, before moving to Pretoria at Cinema Nouveau’s Brooklyn Mall complex from 4 to 10 July.

Tickets are free and can be picked up at the venue an hour before each show time (Mondays-Sundays only at 17h30 and 20h00). For more info on the festival, please log onto


CAST: Asi Levi, Rotem Abuhav, Levana Finkelstein, Dror Keren, Sasson Gabai

DIRECTOR: Shemi Zarhin

Aviva, a hard-working hotel cook in the small northern Israeli town of Tiberias, is on the brink of finally fulfilling her lifelong dream. For years she kept her remarkable writing abilities under wraps, until her sister, Anita, introduces her to Oded, an accomplished novelist. Immediately recognising Aviva’s talent, Oded takes her under his wing, promising to help her achieve greatness. But the journey to greatness affects her life and the lives of her family – her unemployed husband, her troubled children, her unstable mother, and primarily her sister, a funny and sensitive woman who have her own dreams. When Aviva discovered that Oded has other plans for her work, her world collapses.


CAST: Assi Dayan, Sharon Hacohen Bar, Ilan Grif

DIRECTOR: David Volach

Living with his wife and son in the ultra-orthodox community of Jerusalem, Rabbi Abraham devotes his life to the study of Torah and Jewish Law. His son Menahem is at an age where he absorbs the world around him as a place of wonder. He does not resist but follows listlessly as his father leads him along the straight and narrow path that must be pursued by men of faith. But Abraham’s guidance can count for only so much in the scheme of the universe. On a summer vacation to the Dead Sea, his faith is put to the test.


CAST: Gal Zaid, Keren Mor, Asher Tsarfati, Ya’acov Ayaly, Ania Bukshtein

DIRECTOR: Tzahi Grad

Michael Klienhouse is your typical next-door neighbour, married with a child. One day, on the morning of the Holocaust Memorial Day, Michael runs into Dreyfus. Tamar, Michael’s wife, has just flipped Dreyfus the finger, and Dreyfus deliberately hits the gas paddle of his car and runs into Michael’s open door, almost hitting her. A law-abiding citizen, Michael hopes to resolve the situation with the help of the authorities, only to find out that the 60-year-old Dreyfus, an old war hero, is a violent man with connections and friends in high places. Michael, struggling with a personal crisis, finds it difficult to give up to the “power’, and the coming days become his own personal nightmare. However, dealing with the harsh and corrupt reality that endangers his life and liberty gives him a new sense of being.


CAST: Osnat Hakim, Guy Loel, Benni Avni, Alma Zak

DIRECTOR: Ilan Haytner

Golan, a handsome young Israeli guy, can’t make a commitment to anything or anyone. His father threatens to cut him off if he doesn’t get a job and he goes through women faster than…well, you get the picture. He finally goes out with his best-friend’s sister and life is forever changed.


CAST: Sasson Gabai, Ronit Elkabetz, Khalifa Natour, Saleh Bakri, Uri Gavriel, Imad Jabarin, Ahuva Keren

DIRECTOR: Eran Kolirin

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrives in Israel from Egypt. They have been booked by an Arab cultural center in Petah Tiqva, but through a miscommunication, the band takes a bus to Beit Hatikva, a fictional town in the middle of the Negev Desert. The band members dine at a small restaurant where the owner, Dina (Ronit Elkabetz) invites them to stay the night at her apartment, at her friends’ apartment, and in the restaurant since there is no hotel in Beit Hatikva. That night challenges all of the characters. The Band’s Visit was Israel’s original Foreign Language Film submission for the 80th Academy Awards, but was rejected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because it contained over 50% English dialogue.


CAST: Alon Abutbul, Daniel Brook, Oshri Cohen, Eli Eltonyo, Gal Friedman,
Nevo Kimchi, Ohad Knoller , Arthur Perzev, Ygal Resnik, Itay Schor, Itay Tiran, Itay Turgeman, Ami Weinberg, Hanan Yishai

DIRECTOR: Joseph Cedar

Beaufort tells the story of Liraz Liberti, the 22 year-old outpost commander, and his troops in the months before Israel pulled out of Lebanon. This is not a story of war, but of retreat. This is a story with no enemy, only an amorphous entity that drops bombs from the skies while terrified young soldiers must find a way to carry out their mission until their very last minutes on that mountaintop. As Liraz lays the explosives which would destroy that very same structure that his friends had died defending, he witnesses the collapse of all he’s been taught as an officer, and his soldier’s mental and physical disintegration.

NOODLE (2007)

CAST: Mili Avital, BaoQi Chen, Alon Abutbul, Sinaya Ben-Dor, Yiftach Klein, Daphna Shpigelman, Sarit Vino-Elad, Anat Waxman, Roni Yuria

DIRECTOR: Ayelet Menahemi

At 37, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well-regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been summarily deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings — as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing — accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life.


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