The 34th Haifa Film Festival begins Saturday night, September 22, continuing through the holiday of Sukkot and ending on October 1, offering ten days and nights of screening a total of 250 films.
The opening film of the festival is “The Other Story,” the latest from acclaimed Israeli director Avi Nesher, best known for his earliest work “The Band” as well as well more recent movies, including the celebrated “The Matchmaker.”
“The Other Story” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is based on a true story. The Jerusalem-based film centers on two young women, one seeking the safe confines of religion, the other desperate to escape her religious upbringing.
“Both women must confront the tension between self-assertion and tribal affiliation as they negotiate dueling fundamental human desires: to be, and to belong,” said Nesher in a statement.
The film stars actress Joy Rieger and well-known Israeli actor Sasson Gabai.
The festival will close with a screening of “The First Man,” director Damien Chazell’s new film starring Ryan Gosling, offering the story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, through the story of Neil Armstrong from the years 1961-1969.
Among the other 250 films being shown at the festival are winners of various worldwide film festivals, including “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” Rado Jude’s comedy about Holocaust denial in Romania, and selected as the Romanian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Also being shown is “Cold War,” director Pawel Pawilkowski’s award-winning romance set against the backdrop of post-war Europe. Pawilkowski’s Academy Award-winning “Ida” was about a young woman about to take vows as a nun when she discovers she is Jewish.
There’s also “An Elephant Sitting Still” about China’s industrial north, directed by the Hu Bo, a Chinese literary sensation who took his own life at age 29, before the release of this, his first full-feature film.
Among the international documentaries being shown is the Doculinaria program, featuring (mostly) Spanish films about the culinary arts and the restaurant world, followed by talks with different Israeli chefs, including Meir Adoni, Rama Ben Tzvi and Shalom Kadosh, along with a wine and food tasting event, all for NIS 85 a ticket.
There are also movies for kids and teenagers, and a special program featuring Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner, a special guest at the festival.
For more information and tickets, go the Haifa Film Festival website.