Making the cut

2 Israeli movies make line-up for canceled 2020 Cannes film fest

While the renowned French film festival is shelved due to the coronavirus, organizers still announce selected titles

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

From Nir Bergman's newest film, 'Here We Are,' selected for the canceled Cannes 2020 film festival (Courtesy Spiro Films)
From Nir Bergman's newest film, 'Here We Are,' selected for the canceled Cannes 2020 film festival (Courtesy Spiro Films)

The 73rd Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious in the world, was canceled this year due to the coronavirus, but the film festival released its lineup of 56 films, including two Israeli-made films.

Nir Bergman’s fifth film, “Here We Are,” is one of the two Israeli selections, telling the story of a single father about to place his autistic son in a home for special needs adults and their unexpected journey taken at the last minute.

The film was written by Dana Idisis, known for her award-winning and groundbreaking work in co-creating TV show “On the Spectrum,” about three young adults with autism, sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv.

Two of Bergman’s previous films, “Broken Wings” and “Intimate Grammar,” won the Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Festival, but this would have been his first film at Cannes. The filmmaker is also known for his award-winning TV show “B’Tipul,” which was refigured as “In Treatment” for the US.

Filmmaker Dani Rosenberg’s highly personal film, “The Death of Cinema and My Father Too” was also accepted into Cannes. The movie tells the story of his relationship with his father, their joint love of film and his father’s encroaching illness.

It stars Marek Rozenbaum as the father and actor Roni Kuban as his son.

From Dani Rosenberg’s highly personal film, ‘The Death of My Father and Cinema Too,’ selected for the canceled Cannes 2020 film festival (Courtesy M2 Films)

Cannes was initially supposed to take place May 12-23, and was postponed until July, when the French government announced a ban on all large gatherings during the 2020 summer season.

“We will all miss the Cannes experience this year. We will all miss the Cannes effect: what a single projection at the Palais des Festivals gives birth to, an acclamation, a reputation, a storm and sometimes a thunderstorm,” stated Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux.

“It was also because of the filmmaker’s hard work that we didn’t want to give up,” Frémaux said. “We couldn’t send everyone to 2021. So, we continued our selection. And it was the right decision. By choosing to work until the end to establish a selection, we received more than 2,000 feature films, 2,067 to be precise.”

Bergman and Rosenberg are both alumni of the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School. In addition, two other projects developed at the Sam Spiegel International Film Lab are among this year’s Cannes lineup.

“Beginning,” directed by Déa Kulumbegashvili from Georgia was part of the 2017 film lab where her film won second prize. “Should the Wind Fall,” directed by Nora Martirosyan from Armenia, was first workshopped at the 2014 film lab.

Frémaux noted a significant increase in the number of female directors, with 16 in the overall selection.

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