Some borders are physically marked on a map, others are caused by religious differences, and yet others are emotional. This year the Annual Purchase College Jewish Studies Fall Film Festival will present three films that all deal with crossing borders and bridging boundaries of one type or another. The films will be screened October 4, 11 and 18 at 7:30 PM in the Humanities Theatre of the Durst Family Humanities Building. Tickets are $7, cash or check only, at the door. For more information, call the Jewish Studies program at 914-251-6516.
Purchase College is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY.
The Syrian Bride will be screened on October 4. This award-winning film, directed by Eran Riklis, showcases the clash between the secular world and traditional Islam through the trials of a single family, and also addresses the issue of the very tense Israeli-Syrian border. When a young Druze woman in the village of Migdal Shams in the Golan Heights becomes engaged to a man who lives in Syria, the wedding preparations are tinged with sadness because she knows that as soon as she crosses the border, she must turn in her Israeli citizenship papers, and will never be allowed to return to her village or her family.
On October 11, director Gidi Dar’s Ushpizin will be screened. The film won a Best Actor award at the 2004 Israeli Film Festival for writer-star Shuli Rand, who came out of retirement to appear in this film. It is the first feature film to be made in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood with the cooperation of the community. The plot involves Moshe (Rand) and his wife (Rand’s real-life wife Michal Bat-Sheva Rand) who take in two strangers as holiday guests. The strangers are actually escaped convicts, and come from a segment of Israeli society not usually seen in the enclosed religious community. Cultural as well as religious boundaries are crossed in more than one way in this film.
The festival closes on October 18 with Walk on Water, the winner of the 2004 Israeli Academy Award. Directed by Eytan Fox, it stars Israel’s top film star Lior Ashkenzai. The film revolves around Eyal (Ashkenzai), an Israeli Mossad agent sent to spy on the grandchildren of a Nazi war criminal. As the film progresses, Eyal becomes friends with the two young Germans, a friendship that thrives despite his mission, and despite his fears and inhibitions regarding sexual orientation.
The festival is presented with Hillels of Westchester and the Westchester Jewish Chronicle.