The Green Prince is the stuff of spy novels and thrilling features films. It’s hard to believe that Mosab Hassan Yousef has lived this life, and still lives to tell his story in this documentary film.
Screening at the upcoming Jewish International Film Festival, Zero Motivation, the excellent début feature from Israeli writer/director Talya Lavie, won the top prize for narrative world cinema at the Tribeca Film Festival. A black comedy addressing the mundanity of Israeli Army base HR management and secretarial duties, it focuses on a unit of female conscripts who find their camaraderie tested by the base’s comings and goings, and are willing to do anything to make their service bearable – while keeping their sanity and dignity.
The annual Jewish International Film Festival returns to Melbourne and Sydney – and, for the first time Perth, Gold Coast and New Zealand – with an incredibly rich global selection of 49 award-winning features, documentaries and shorts within 11 categories.
Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, will open JIFF in each city. This compelling French/German/Israeli co-production, which screened as part of Directors’ Fortnight at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, affords a rare insight into the rabbinical court and its treatment of women as we follow the five-year quest of Viviane Amsalem to obtain a ‘gett’ (Jewish divorce) amidst a process where tragedy and absurdity abound. Above and Beyond, a riveting documentary that encapsulates the indomitable Jewish spirit, will screen on Closing Night.
What lies between these two films is a selection of outstanding features and documentaries sourced from Israel, Germany, France, USA, the Philippines, Switzerland and Ireland that will enthrall, inform and captivate audiences from both within and beyond the Jewish community.
THE GREEN PRINCE (Germany/Israel/UK/USA) D: Nadav Schirman
Category: Hamatzav (The Situation)
Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award (World Cinema: Documentary) and Best Documentary at the 2014 Ophir Awards, this is a gripping account of terror and betrayal based on the best-selling book, Son of Hamas, a memoir by Mosab Hassan Yousef. Palestinian Yousef, is ready to fight Israel, but at 17, is arrested for smuggling guns. Interrogated by Israel’s security service, he is sent to prison, where he turns and, deeply ashamed, agrees to spy for Israel. But for his Shin Bet handler, there is no greater prize than operating the oldest son of a founding member of Hamas.
THE FAREWELL PARTY (Israel) Directors: Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon
Category: Triumph of the Spirit
Nominated in 14 categories at the 2014 Ophir Awards this off-beat comedy, which won the Venice Day’s People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, is a compassionate tale about life, death and friendship. Ezikiel and his friends at a Jerusalem retirement home build a euthanasia machine to help their terminally ill friend. When rumours of the machine begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the group is faced with an emotional, ethical dilemma.
MY OLD LADY (France, USA) Director: Israel Horovtiz
CATEGORY: Meant to Be
An uplifting, superbly acted story about what life can do to you while you’re making other plans, and about making the most of the time we have. A down-and-out, harried New Yorker (Kevin Kline) travels to Paris to sell a valuable apartment he has inherited from his estranged father. Once there he finds the apartment inhabited by a refined older lady (Academy-Award winner Maggie Smith) and her daughter (Kristin Scott Thomas). She tells him that, legally, he cannot sell the apartment until she dies.
Festival dates & locations
SYDNEY: 29 October – 16 November Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction
MELBOURNE: 5 – 23 November Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick
GOLD COAST: 15, 16 & 23 November Event Cinemas, Robina
PERTH: 15, 16 & 23 November Event Cinemas, Innaloo
NEW ZEALAND: 16 & 23 November The Bridgeway, Auckland
Tickets are now on sale