The Israeli Film Festival runs Monday through Thursday, April 3 through 6, at Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 1104 S. Wabash. Admission is free, all works will be shown by video projection, and each screening includes a 6:30 reception and a lecture. For more information call 312-673-2350.
Written and directed by Arik Kaplun, a Russian emigre to Israel, this overly contrived and broadly comic 1999 feature focuses on a group of immigrants in a Tel Aviv neighborhood during the gulf war. Kaplun’s wife, Evlyn, plays the title character, left pregnant and in debt when her husband absconds to Russia with their immigration grant money; a melancholy blond with a heart-melting smile, she arouses the protective (and other) instincts of Eli, a womanizing neighbor. Her story is intercut and gradually connected with that of another newly arrived couple, vulgar strivers who exploit their wheelchair-bound war-hero grandfather by parking him, hat in hand, next to a street musician. Yana and Eli’s response to gas masks and sealed rooms may inspire a few laughs, but this sex-and-death territory has been covered better in other films. In Hebrew and Russian with subtitles. 90 min. (Alissa Simon) a 7 PM
Works by Doron Tzabari
Two short videos by the award-winning Israeli director. Underdogs: A War Story is a documentary about Moroccan immigrants on the Beit She’an soccer team as it competes with the Tel Aviv team in the National League championship in 1995. Drix’s Brother is a narrative about a young man in the religious corps of the Israel Defense Forces who tries to impress his peers by posing as the brother of soccer star Eli Drix. a 7 PM
Land of the Settlers
Subtitled “A Journey Log,” this is the first episode of an Israeli TV documentary on settlements in the West Bank. Chaim Yavin directed. In Hebrew with subtitles. a 7 PM
R Walk on Water
Israeli director Eytan Fox follows up his art-house hit Yossi & Jagger (2002) with this nervy generational drama that urges Jews to let go of the Holocaust. A young Mossad agent (Lior Ashkenazi) assassinates a Hamas leader in Istanbul, then returns to Tel Aviv to find his wife has committed suicide. Swallowing his grief, he throws himself into his next assignment, tracking down an octogenarian Nazi fugitive by befriending the man’s adult grandson (Knut Berger) and granddaughter (Carolina Peters). The kids are liberal Germans who’ve rejected their family’s Nazi past–she’s converted to Judaism and lives on a kibbutz–and though the agent is gradually disarmed by their gentleness and openness, he still follows them back to Berlin in hopes of terminating their mysterious grandfather. Fox keeps the suspense story at a low boil throughout, allowing the politics to emerge as the characters deepen. In English and subtitled German and Hebrew. 104 min. (JJ) a 7 PM