The festival’s theme is Israel at Sixty and the films represent different aspects of life in the area told through humor, and sensitivity. The series is co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program of Purchase College and Hillels of Westchester.
Souvenirs, shown on September 8, is a humorous film about Shahar Cohen’s journey and relationship with his father, a strict 82 year old Yemenite, who suggests Shahar make a film about the World War II Jewish Brigade in which he served. He is startled to learn his father may have left some “souvenirs” behind, possible children with two Dutch women. The film by Shahar Cohen and Halil Efrat won the Israeli Academy Award for best documentary in 2006. A question and answer session follows the film.
Unsettled screened on September 15 about the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, explores the perspectives of religious settlers being forced to leave, and Israeli soldiers who are duty-bound to remove them, sometimes putting aside their own emotions to face angry protesters and the prospect of attacks. The documentary is directed by Adam Hootnick. A student panel discussion about the issues raised follows the film.
The Band’s Visit shown on September 22 is a sensitive film by Eran Kolirin about a small Egyptian police band that accidentally arrives in a desolate Israeli town. Its members are taken in by several friendly local residents. The clash of cultures and personalities portrayed in the film reminds viewers of the individuals who happen to live in the midst of the stormy Middle East. A question and answer session will follow.