Arava Film Festival opens in Israel

The tenth anniversary of the Arava International Film Festival, which runs from November 3-13, marks the return of distinguished guests to the Israeli film festival circuit.
Israel’s film festivals have long attracted the world’s most famous filmmakers, but due to the pandemic, the vast majority of guests moved to Zoom. But at the Arava, several distinguished filmmakers from around the world will take part in special events at one of the largest Israeli film festivals, featuring the best of recent Israeli and international cinema, as well as classics.

Perhaps the location is part of what draws filmmakers to the festival. The unique beauty of the Ashosh Nature Reserve, next to Tzukim, where films are shown under the starry sky, makes it a magical experience and very different from urban film festivals. One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be the screening of Robert Wise West Side Story, a classic set in the concrete jungle of New York City, that the public will enjoy in the middle of nature. The dance sequences in particular, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, will be especially impressive on the big screen.

This year’s guest list features a diverse group of filmmakers. Two decades ago, the Mexican film scene spawned a group of filmmakers who broke through internationally and changed the face of Hollywood; among them Alejandro González Iñárritu (Bird man, The reborn) and Guillermo del Toro (The shape of water), and one of the newest directors to emerge from Mexico, Michel Franco, will attend the festival. He will present his latest film, Sunset, starring Tim Roth as an enigmatic, wealthy man who goes on vacation to Mexico and then, for reasons that are initially unclear, abandons his family and goes into hiding. Charlotte Gainsbourg (who appeared in Joseph Cedar’s film, Norman) co-stars in this film, which generated a stir at the Venice International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere. Franco also works as a producer and produced by Lorenzo Vigas Box – a dark drama about a teenager who goes to collect the remains of his father who died in an industrial accident – which will also be at the festival.

Juho Kuosmanen, who has participated in the Arava Film Festival in the past, will present his new film, Compartment number 6, which won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His film tells the unconventional story of a tough Russian and a lesbian archaeologist from Finland who meet while traveling by train.

‘WEST SIDE STORY’ lights up the Arava International Film Festival. (credit: courtesy)

Valdimar Jóhannsson has worked as a camera operator and team member on films and television series around the world, including in game of Thrones, but returned to his native Iceland to make his first film as a director, mutton, and will present it at the festival. Lamb, which had its premiere in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section at Cannes, received an appropriately named award: the Prize for Originality. It’s a mysterious, beautifully photographed, and sometimes terrifying story about a childless couple who run a sheep farm in an isolated area, who adopt a creature they find, which they raise as their own child. The internet is awash with theories about the movie and the possibility of a sequel. Noomi Rapace (The girl with the dragon tattoo) stars in the movie. mutton remember Jan Svankmajer’s 2000 film, Otesanek, about a Czech couple without children who bring a piece of wood to life and raise it as their own child. Once you see mutton, you will not forget it soon, and perhaps it is especially appropriate that you see it
Gates of the Arava, in a very different but equally beautiful landscape.

The Arava Film Festival will feature a tribute to the late Polish master director Krzysztof Kieslowski and will screen his 1989 series, Decalogue, which features 10 films, each based on one of the 10 commandments, which was co-written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Piotr Jaxa, the photographer and cinematographer who collaborated closely with Kieslowski on Decalogue and other films, he will attend the festival and present some of his work, including photographs that will be on display at the Ashosh Gallery in the heart of the artist village in Tzukim. The exhibit is organized so that viewers can walk through photographs of the area where Decalogue is configured as well as viewing still images. Dekalog was very much a forerunner of the current era of highly regarded and artistic television series. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Institute collaborated on this program.

The festival features dozens of recent films from around the world, as well as some Israeli films. They were Kolirin Let it be tomorrow, which just won the Ophir Award for Best Picture and six other awards, will be shown ahead of its release. Its Best Picture victory makes it Israel’s official selection for consideration for an Oscar nomination for Best International Film, and several of the other films competing for these nominations, which are their country’s official entries, are part of. from the Arava film festival.

From Colombia, for example, comes Memory, the film that shared the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival with Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s knee, which was directed by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and starring Tilda Swinton as a Scotswoman who travels through Colombia and begins to hear strange noises. Ryusuke Hamaguchi Drive my car is Japan’s official entry and won the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes for the story of an actor whose wife suddenly disappears. By Kuosmanen Compartment number 6 is the entrance of Finland and Jóhannsson mutton He is from Iceland. Those who are interested in this Oscars category (which was once known as Best Foreign Language Film) will appreciate the opportunity to see these potential nominees side by side.

The Arava International Film Festival is a component of the artistic flourishing of the region, and there is now an Arava Film Fund, whose director is Eyal Shiray. It is managed in cooperation with the Gesher Multicultural Fund and the Arava Community Center, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Central Arava Regional Council. Some of the films created by those who work with Arava Film Fund will be screened at the festival, in a section called Shorts in the Desert, which highlights the diversity and creativity of this region.

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