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Moviegoers, politicians to celebrate opening of Jerusalem Film Festival

CM 24/08/2021 4

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The 38th Jerusalem Film Festival will open with a festive ceremony at the Sultan’s Pool amphitheater in Jerusalem on Tuesday night, the first time a full version of the festival has been held in two years, and movie lovers are awaiting it with bated breath.
The opening-night movie will be Ari Folman’s animated docu-drama, Where is Anne Frank, which recently had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Folman, who is best known for Waltz with Bashir, another animated documentary about the first Lebanon War, will be present at the opening and will speak about his film, which received rave reviews. His movie imagines that Kitty, the imaginary friend Anne addressed in her diary, has come to life in contemporary Europe and searches for the truth about Anne’s final days, before the teenager passed away in a Nazi death camp.
Other speakers at the opening will include President Isaac Herzog, Culture and Sport Minister Chili Tropper, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and Jerusalem Film Festival director and Jerusalem Cinematheque CEO Dr. Noa Regev.

As always, festival goers can expect some short films spotlighting festival highlights and paying tribute to the festival’s history. It is likely that one of these may showcase the long and winding road to the 2021 festival. The festival normally takes place in early- or mid-July but in 2020, due to the pandemic, it was postponed and finally moved online in December (except for a very small opening night in which Eytan Fox’s Sublet, the official 2020 opening film, was shown in screenings for just 10 viewers). Tonight’s festivities take place at a time when COVID morbidity is up but so are vaccinations and the gathering will be held in accordance with Health Ministry rules.  
Tuesday’s opening night will kick off a full, 10-day in-person festival, featuring hundreds of movies from all over the world, as well as the latest Israeli movies. There are several closely watched competitions, PitchPoint, a pitching event, and film trucks that will screen films for free all over Jerusalem, including festival films such a digitally restored version of the Israeli classic, Big Eyes, directed by Uri Zohar and starring Arik Einstein, children’s movies such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and recent releases like In the Heights.
THE JERUSALEM Film Festival returns. (credit: DOR KEDMI)THE JERUSALEM Film Festival returns. (credit: DOR KEDMI)
While this is not a year that the festival can host many guests from abroad, as it usually does, Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino, now a Ramat Aviv resident married to Israeli singer Daniella Pick, will lend his star power by hosting several low-budget films from the legendary Israeli production company, the Cannon Group, run by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus.
While it may be a challenge to hold a large festival right now, this festival has known other difficult times and has always managed to be a bright spot for moviegoers. I interviewed the festival and cinematheque founder, Lia van Leer, while she was planning a festival at the height of the Second Intifada, and she quoted Waiting for Godot: “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” The festival did go on that year, and all the years since. And it will go on in 2021.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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