Israeli flicks present a cool way to vanquish the summer doldrums

Israeli flicks present a cool way to vanquish the summer doldrums

From the Tel Aviv Cinematheque to NY’s Cinema Village, Israel-themed movies take center stage in August-September

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

Homer Simpson juggling his Aroma hafuch and sandwich during one of his Israeli adventures, which will be discussed at the Animix Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on August 2-6, 2016 (Courtesy Animix Festival)
Homer Simpson juggling his Aroma hafuch and sandwich during one of his Israeli adventures, which will be discussed at the Animix Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on August 2-6, 2016 (Courtesy Animix Festival)

When the long, hot days of August arrive, sometimes the only thing you can do is find a cool place indoors and watch a movie.

Luckily, there is a wide selection of events and activities over the next few weeks that will help you hone your choices, focusing, of course, on those with a decidedly Israeli angle.

1) Start with Animix, the international festival for animation, comics and caricature, taking place August 2-6 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. This year the festival will be celebrating 30 years of “The Simpsons,” with scriptwriter and producer Mike Reiss in attendance. Other guests include Klaus Janson, a longtime illustrator of Superman, Spiderman and Batman, and several local animators and comic book artists.

Reiss will speak about the Simpsons, discussing Jewish motifs in the show and screening the episode of the Simpsons’ trip to Israel.

The festival features several other lectures and talks, including one with Danny Sanderson of Kaveret (Poogy) fame, looking at the band’s song illustrations with musical accompaniment by the tunes under discussion. There are several activities for kids, including learning how to draw comics, and how superheroes are born in creators’ imaginations.

Go to the Animixfest website for a full listing of screenings, programs and activities.

2) New Yorkers and Los Angelenos should make time to see Dani Menkin’s latest film, “Is That You?” starring Alon Aboutboul. The movie is about Ronnie, a 60-year-old film projectionist who, having lost his job, travels from Israel to the US to find his long-lost love. Along the way, he meets Myla, a filmmaker working on a documentary about lost loves.

Menkin is known for his award-winning films. He snagged the Israeli Oscar, the Ophir, for “39 Pounds of Love,” which was sold to HBO, and for “Dolphin Boy,” which was purchased by Disney for adaptation.

“Is That You” will open in New York’s Cinema Village on August 26, and at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles in September.

3) Make sure to see “Not Here, Not There,” a fresh look at Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv, from new director Maysaloun Hamoud and starring Mouna Hawa, Sana Jamm and Shaden Kanboura. The film, which will be heading to Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival in September, tells the story of two secular Palestinian women, a lawyer and a lesbian musician, who both like to party, and what happens when a young, religious Palestinian woman becomes their apartment mate.

Produced by Shlomi Elkabetz of “Gett” fame, the film examines the situation of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and how that shifts as they live life outside their home villages. The film was presented at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival’s Pitch Point event. Elkabetz commented at the time that it was similar in spirit to the award-winning Israeli film “Zero Motivation,” about a female Israeli soldier stuck in a dead-end job.

(A trailer of Hamoud’s film isn’t available yet but the film clip shown above is from her short film, “Scent of the Morning.”)

4) Take a minute or three to watch the work of Israeli video directors Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia in Coldplay’s “Up&Up.” The two were recently nominated for an MTV directing award for their groundbreaking video work. Heymann, a former Jerusalemite who studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, was also nominated for the visual effects category for the video, which uses compositing to create unusual and sometimes eerie effects. The award ceremony is scheduled for August 28 in Madison Square Garden, and as with all MTV Movie Awards, nominees are chosen by MTV producers and executives but winners are decided online by the general public. So be sure to watch and vote.

5) Looking for a free film? Head to Thursday Films each Thursday in August, when kids’ films will be screened at 5:30 p.m. at the Country Auditorium in Beit Barbour in Tel Aviv. The films being shown are “Inside Out,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” “The Reef 2,” and “Capture the Flag.” Screenings are free.

Looking for something with a little more depth? Sarona Market will be hosting the best of DocAviv every Thursday night in August, at 9 p.m. It’s showing “Janis: Little Girl Blue” on August 4, “Finding Vivian Maier” on August 11, “Under the Sun“ on August 18 and a surprise screening on August 25. Entry is free.

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