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November 20, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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November 20, 2009

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 20, 2009 Film review by Lyn Payne Associate Editor Twomonthsago, Jane Fonda and Danny Gloverjoined some 50 other celebrities, artists and filmmakers in accusing the Toronto International Film Festival of"complicity with the Israeli propaganda machine" for its City to City program that spotlighted films from Tel Aviv. While anti-Israel senti- ments from Hollywood pop up with perverse regularity, this episode baffled observers of the Israeli film scene. The directors spotlighted included Eytan Fox, whose "Walk on Water" and "The Bubble'! ask biting questions about Mossad justice and Israeli-Palestinian relations, respectively; Keren Yedaya, whose "Jaffa" de- picts the love of a young Jewish woman for an Arab mechanic; and others whose work routinely turns every kind of political correctness on its head. Jerusalem Post critic Hannah Brown wrote, "It is quite possible that there is no other city in the world where mainstream (and often government-supported) film- makers have been so staunchly and relentlessly critical of their government." The four films in this year's 11th annual Central Florida Jewish Film Festival are all from Israel, and they're no less Hebrew with English subtitles, 89 min., unrated. Showtime: Sunday, Nov. 22, 11 a.m. "As I read the book," director Lynn Roth said about Amos Oz's short novel "Panther in the Basement," "I could see the expressions in the eyes of the characters. And when that happens, the language of film begins." Roth's deeply felt, beautiful interpretation of Oz's vision lets us see all the emotions in the eyes of the characters. Ido Portas"Proffy" Leibowitz is the 11-year-old sabra son of two refugees from the Holocaust, andhe grows up amid the darkness and silences of their small apartment in pre- Film stills courtesy of the Enzian statePalestine.YoungProffyis Theater prematurely smart, and when ProffyLell~owitz (Ido Port, he and his friends hatch a plot 1) wants the British out of his to blow up a British convoy country, but the bond w/th with their schoolboy explo- his friend Sergeant i nlop sives, he misses curfew and (Alfred Molina) transcends is nabbed by a British soldier. Ph'ticsin"Thela'tlteTrai~r.~ But Sergeant Dunlop (Alfred Molina) sees that Proffy's fear self-reflectivethantheToronto of his father's anger is worse slate. The Festival films, play- than his fear of the occupiers, ing at the Enzian Theater in and they become friends who Maitland this Sunday and share a love of the Hebrew Monday, Nov. 22 and 23, fo- and English languages and cus on forbidden friendships, the land of Israel. But when justice delayed, and unlikely Proffy's community finds out love, but the message of all of about his friendship, he's ac- themis on connection--made, cused of being a traitor to the missed or rekindled. Zionist cause. His own hatred The Little Traitor (Israel I/ for the British is no match for USA, 2007), written and direct- the personal bond he forms edbyLynnRoth, in English and with one individual soldier. Taxes and laws are ever-changing. Is your financial advisor up-to-date? ls your money earning up to its potential? We are a group of financial professionals with years of extensive experience in wealth preservation, product independent advice, financial and risk management, income producing strategies, retirement plannin& and tax management* Call 407-875-2674 for your complimentary initial assessment. 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P~, ~., the parent company of NIP Securities, Inc. *NIP Securities, Inc. and Asset Management Partners do not provide ~pat or tax advice: Mitchell Walk, ~es~ent, ~LMS Mossad agents Zvi (Ray Tiran) and Rachel (Netta Garty) plan the capture of the notorious Surgeon of Birkenau, an operation that will make them national heroes and haunt them forever in "The Debt. ~ Molina is wise and won- derful in his role as mentor, friend and father figure, and Ido Port is an Israeli version of the young Haley Joel Os- ment--wise beyond his years, and touchingly innocent. This is easily my favorite entry in this year's festival, and it will be yours, too. The scenes of Israelis dancing in the streets to celebrate the birth of their nation are even more deeply moving in the midst of the Jewish state's current struggle against constant attacks on its borders and from within. And when you know that it was shot during the 2006 war with Lebanon, and that the director, cast and crew refused to leave the project unfinished when they were urged to leave the country, the message con- tained in its ending becomes even more poignant. For My Father (Germany/ Israel, 2008), directed by Dror Zahav, in Hebrew with English subtitles, 100 min., unrated. Showtime: Sunday, Nov. 22, 1:30 p.m. For a film that starts off looking like a mixture of Mad Max, the Terminator and For- rest Gump, "For My Father" turns into a deeply moving exploration of the nature of friendship and the inexorable grip of destiny. Tarek (Shredi Jabarin) has a vest filled with explosives strapped to his body, and is sent to blow up as many Israelis as he can, along with himself. And if he doesn't do it, no problem: His handlers can instantly detonate him by cellphone.As thisineptwould- be terrorist experiences one fail after another, he bonds ever more closely with the inhabit- ants of one run-down Tel Aviv street. His growing closeness with beautiful Keren, rebelling against her strict upbringing, leads them to rely on each other for the understanding their own people can't give them. But as quickly as Tarek changes from a programmed killer into a human being before our eyes, as quickly as A Matter of Size (Israel, we get to know his hopeless 2009), directed by Sharon questtosavehisfather'shonor, Maymon and Erez Tadmor, time begins to run out. Dror in Hebrew and Japanese with Zahav directs with a sensitive English subtitles, 90 rain, hand, and with a love for all unrated. Herzl (Itzik Cohen) is Keren (Hili Yalon) and Tarek (Shredi Jaban'n) form the unlikeliest bond of all in "For My Father,~ about a Palestin- ian suicide bomber and his would-be victims. the downtrodden and tragic fedupwithdieting, soheleaves figures in what I can only call his weight loss club to become a love story, a surno wrestler. From that The Debt (Israel, 2007), most unlikely of premises for directedbyAssafBernstein, in an Israeli film comes an hour Hebrew, German and Russian and a half feast of delight that's with Englishsubtitles,93min,, tender, bitingly satirical, and unrated, uproariously funny. Herzl takes Assaf Bernstein gives us fourfriendswithhim, andthey the magnificent Israeli actress kick over the scales to celebrate Gila Almagor as a woman in themselves as they are. The late middle age whose past message is obvious, but never as a celebrated Mossad agent heavy-handed, and the direc- returns to haunt her. In the tors keep the story itself up- 1960s, Rachel, Zvi and Ehud perrnost. The best thing about were three young intelligence this film is that the overweight agents sent to hunt out and charactersaregiventousasreal capture "The Surgeon of humanbeingswithafullrange Birkenau," a notorious Nazi ofemotions and ideas, neveras butcher living in middle class stereotypes. And Herzl's love respectability as a respected story with the beautiful and gynecologist.They returnedto proud Zahava, who is also try- Israel as heroes after carrying ing to celebrate her curves in out their mission. But when asociety thatwants itswomen Zvi reconnects with Rachel thin, is the best part of one of years later, he brings her the thesweetestandmostgenuine knowledge that the secret the comedies you'll see for a long three of them shared now has time. Hint: The two very well- become again a matter of life mundedactorsenjoyoneofthe and death. The taut suspense loveliest and most engaging thriller is also a deeply disturb- sex scenes ever---and make us ing psychological probing of understand every bit of their the nature of truth, identity, appeal for each other. and patriotism, and the lion- For tickets andmore bffor- ess-like Almagor gives one of ma 'on, visit unm her best performances, or call 407-629-0054. In a light-hearted take on a heavy subject, "A Matter of Size~ tells the story of four over- weight f~'ends (Shmulik Cohen, Dvir Benedek, Alon Dahan and ltzik Cohen) who celeb~te self-acceptance through sumo with the help of"Japanese Zionist~ Kitano (~o !~).