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Culture clash and conflicts of living in a tight, multi-layered community dominate the themes at this year’s event.

The 7th annual AICE Israeli Film Festival (Melbourne, 17-22 August, Sydney, 31 Aug–5 Sept. at select Palace cinema locations) will open with the Oscar nominated Ajami, which highlights the many levels of conflict in Israel via a series of five, inter-related chapters set amidst the explosive Jaffa neighbourhood of the same name.

“I’m thrilled with our 2010 Festival line-up,” said Festival founder Albert Dadon, “particularly as it highlights the creative richness of Israel’s film industry. Israeli cinema has come a long way in recent years, garnering the respect of Europe’s cinema
community, which is evident in the many international co-productions we’ve programmed. I’m thoroughly delighted to be able to screen these films to Australian audiences and proud that we’re able to do so.”

Ajami, the multi-award winning Israeli/German co-production, which took top honours in five major categories (including Best Film) at the 2009 Israeli Academy Awards, as well as a 2010 Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, will screen on opening night in both cities.

"cultural clashes as well as exploring life"

Many of the films in this year’s Festival examine cultural clashes as well as exploring life amongst Israel’s ultra-orthodox as they strive to exist alongside contemporary Western society. One such film, which generated much controversy at the Israeli box office, is Eyes Wide Open, an Israeli/French/German co-production that explores homosexuality amidst Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox community. The ‘Haredim’ trilogy of documentaries which include Gevald!, The Rabbi’s Daughter & The Midwife and Religion.Com also look at how progress has impacted upon Israel’s more devout citizens.

21st century life and its complexities are brought to the fore with Phobidilia and A Matter Of Size. Visually inventive and mesmerizing, Phobidilia introduces us to a man who has discovered that in today’s world, all of his needs can be met without leaving his apartment.

Modern society’s fixation with the ‘body beautiful’ gets a fresh take in A Matter Of Size, an endearing comedy about a 160 kilo chef, whose life is a series of diets and fitness regimes – until he and his equally Rubenesque buddies discover the world of Sumo wrestling, where flab is fab!

"international actors"

The Festival also has its share of international actors including Olga Kurylenko, the latest Bond femme fatale from Quantum Of Solace who stars in Walls, and Joseph Fiennes who leads a stellar cast in Spring 1941, a sweeping family drama set amidst the turbulent days of WW II, the first co-production between Israel and Poland.

Also revisiting the Holocaust is the stunning feature-length documentary the Israeli/German coproduction, A Film Unfinished, which reveals a 70-year-old lie. The recipient of Awards at Toronto, Sundance and Silverdocs, this startling film looks at how the Nazi propaganda machine manipulated camera crews to depict supposedly ‘everyday scenes’ of life in the infamous Warsaw Ghetto.

Published July 22, 2010

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