Israel has had a notable cinema industry for some time. Israel has been nominated for more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (6) than any other country in the Middle East. The majority of the films are produced in the Hebrew language, with many others in English, other European languages, and Arabic.
(dir. Nir Bergman, Israel, 2002, 87 minutes)
An Israeli mother wrestles with her own grief and that of her four children while working two jobs to keep their family together, after the death of her husband. Winner of 9 Israeli Film Academy awards. Cast: Orly Zilbershatz-Banai, Maya Maron. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Yoav Shamir, Israel, 2003, 79 minutes )
This is documentary filmmaker Yoav Shamir's depiction of the checkpoints that the Israel Defense Forces man in the Palestinian Authority. Over three million Palestinians live in The West Bank and Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli military authority since 1967. This film documents the impact of the enforced boundaries know as "checkpoints" on the Israeli border, the border guards drafted to monitor them and the Palistinian citizens who must pass through them daily. In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles.
(dir. Vardit Bileu & Dalia Hager, Israel, 2005, 99 minutes)
Two female soldiers, one rebellious and one controlled, find friendship with one another while patrolling the streets of Jerusalem. Cast: Smadar Sayar, Naama Schendar, Irit Suki, Dani Geva, Ilanit Ben Yaakov, Katia Zimbris, Ami Vinberg, Shlomo Vishinski. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(Amos Gitai, Israel, 2002, 100 minutes)
A group of European Jewish refugees arrive in Palestine in the critical year of 1948. Carried on deck of the freighter, Kedma, they come ashore to find not the Promised Land, but a war torn desert in the bloody throes of transformation into the state of Israel. Rescued from a Brisish Army ambush at beachside by Palmach Jewish guerillas, the refugees are remade into soldiers expected to offer their lives to defend a nation that does not yet exist in a land they have never known. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Dover Koshashvili, Israel, 2001, 102 minutes)
In Israel, a tradition-bound family of Georgian Jews strives to find a wife for 31-year-old bachelor Zaza, who he has already found someone, a divorced mother who he fears would not meet with his parents' approval.Cast: Lior Louie Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Kosashvili. In Georgian and Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Karen Yedaya, Israel, 2004, 100 minutes)
Or has a part-time job at a restaurant, but her full-time job is taking care of her mother, whose survival skills have deteriorated after years of prostitution. Now Or must decide if she wants to keep caring for her mother or have a life of her own. Cast: Ronit Elkabetz, Dana Ivgy, Meshar Cohen, Katia Zimbris, Shmuel Edelman. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Ephraim Kishon, Israel, 1964, 110 minutes)
A Yemenite Jewish family that was flown to Israel during "Operation Magic Carpet" - a clandestine operation that flew 49,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel the year after the state was formed - is forced to move to a government settlement camp. This sharp, often hilarious satire became the most successful film in Israeli history as it told the story of new immigrant Sallah and his family, who are left in a shack near their promised apartment and are abandoned for months. Cast: Topol, Geula Nuni, Gila Almagor, Albert Cohen, Shraga Friedman, Zaharira Harifai, Shaike Levi, Esther Greenberg. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Israel, 2004, 97 minutes)
Controversially divisive in the Israeli press for its sympathetic portrayal of Palestinian citizens, The Inner Tour (Official selection, Sundance Film Festival, 2002) is a fascinating and humanistic portrait of ordinary people caught up in one of the most emotionally painful and seemingly intractable national conflicts of our time. Just months before the second Intifada (uprising) began in 2000, Israeli director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz (with his Israeli and Palestinian co-producers) filmed a group of West Bank Palestinians on a three-day bus tour to Israel, where many of the passengers once lived. Their weekend trip becomes an extremely charged journey of deep emotional distances and contradicting realities as the travelers interact with ordinary Israelis and visit places that they feel simultaneously rooted to and alienated from. Their contemplative observations of and encounters with the country they are visiting lie at the heart of this piercingly resonant documentary.In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Arnon Goldfinger, Israel, 2000, 80 minutes)
The glory days of the Yiddish stage are brought to life in this humorous documentary that looks at a legendary theatrical family, the Bursteins. Arriving in 1924, Pesach’ke Burstein, the dancing-singing comedian, quickly became a leading figure in the Golden Era of Yiddish theater. On stage, he would meet, fall in love with and eventually marry raising star Lillian Lux. Embarking together on triumphant overseas tours as a couple, they soon became the parents of twins. Before long the children, Mike and Susan, were given stage names and accompanied their parents on tours. In time, the pressures of theatrical life would take its toll on the family.
(dir. Eytan Fox, Israel, 2004, 103 minutes)
While on assignment in Berlin, a homophobic Israeli intelligence agent is tasked with offing a Nazi war criminal. However, he has a crisis of consciousness after he befriends a target's gay grandson.
(dir. Danny Verete, Israel, 2001, 84 minutes)
At the edge of modern Israel and the ancinet Bedouin way of life, three dramatic encounters between two very different societies are brought forth. The tales are of the human condition - of passion and deceit, carelessness and love, courage and selfishness, in which no one culture has a monopoly on virtue or vice. Cast: A group of European Jewish refugees arrive in Palestine in the critical year of 1948. Carried on deck of the freighter, Kedma, they come ashore to find not the Promised Land, but a war torn desert in the bloody throes of transformation into the state of Israel. Rescued from a Brisish Army ambush at beachside by Palmach Jewish guerillas, the refugees are remade into soldiers expected to offer their lives to defend a nation that does not yet exist in a land they have never known. Cast: Sami Samir, Motti Katz, Tatjana Blacher, Raeda Adon, Moshe Ivgi, Abed Zuabi, Hagit Keler, Zeve Raz. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Amos Gitai, Israel, 1998, 102 minutes)
In spite of blood ties to both Jewish and Arab populations, Moshe leads a rootless existence. Grown weary of his wife and ambivalent about his needy young mistress, the only relationships he doesn't complicate are with his parents and best friend. Cast: Moshe Ivgy, Hanna Meron, Juliano Mer, Dalit Kahan, Yussef Abu Warda, Natali Atiya, Keren Mor. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
(dir. Eyton Fox, Israel, 2004, 71 minutes)
Romance blooms between two soldiers (Ohad Knoller and Yehuda Levi) stationed in an Israeli outpost on the Lebanese border. The others in the unit react to their situation, suspecting, but not always understanding. One will leave the military soon, a few months away, as a snowy and desolate outpost is guarded from attack. Cast: Ohad Knoller, Yehuda Levi. In Hebrew with English subtitles.