A Ticket to Reality
JCC’s Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival Presents Israeli Filmmaker Galit Roichman
During the Great Depression, Americans of all ages would wander up and down lonely streets, searching for lost pennies or a few old bottles to trade in. Put everything together and you might have enough to see a movie, maybe Vivien Leigh starring in the lush Gone with the Wind, or the bright, new animated film about a beautiful girl named Snow White, or the always-charming Shirley Temple singing and dancing.
Reality Bites on the Big Screen
During economic struggles or facing a barrage of rockets from across the border, hearing the latest dire statistics about car accidents or worrying about Iran, Israelis are likely to take their last few shekels and see a movie, too. You might think that Israeli cinema would embrace fantasy, glamour and a good dose of Hollywood-style escapism. On the contrary. In Israel, the opposite is true, says filmmaker Galit Roichman. “You buy a ticket to an Israeli film and you meet Israeli reality enlarged on the big screen, waiting for you to deal with it.”
Galit Roichman makes her guest appearance as filmmaker-in-residence at the JCC’s Lenore Marwil Film Festival April 22-May 3, 2012, at The Berman Center for the Performing Arts and the Emagine Royal Oak Theatre. Now in its 14th year, the festival features more than 35 films from countries throughout the world, covering a spectrum of topics from family to love, from action and adventure to the Holocaust, from art to sports and everything in-between. Roichman will be the speaker for a lunch and learn beginning at noon on May 1 at the JCC, and she will host talk-backs following several films that highlight life in Israel: Strangers No More and Homecoming (showing together) and Restoration.
Film Festival Director, Rachel Ruskin, describes Roichman as “a captivating speaker” with an impressive knowledge of Israeli film. A graduate of Tel Aviv University, Roichman is a screenwriter and online editor of Ynet, discussing Israeli films. In her May 1 presentation, she will show film clips and speak on Peering into Israeli Cinema: A Look at Israeli Society Through Film.
Films You Won’t See Anywhere Else
Israeli films “allow us not only to get a glimpse of the local culture, but to actually get acquainted with Israeli society and the way it is reflected through the perspectives of different directors and screenwriters,” Roichman said. This year, for example, the Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival will feature Israeli films about foreign workers in the country, Israeli-Palestinian relations, a transgender child and a Jewish woman whose sister is married to an Arab.
In addition to Galit Roichman, the Film Festival will include guests Matt Mazer, who wrote and produced an astonishing documentary, Buried Prayers, that tells the story of a group of Jews at Majdanek who hid their few, remaining treasures before they could be stolen by the Nazis, and the survivors who visited years later to recover these items. Representatives of Oakland University also will present a panel discussion following the showing of “Mabul” at Emagine Royal Oak, and local rabbis will host presentations after a number of films.
This year marks Ruskin’s first as the Film Festival Director; it’s a dream come true, she says.
She especially loves foreign films, and her absolute favorites are from Israel, where she lived for several years. “I’ll see them even if they’re bad,” she says, “because it’s a way to keep in touch withIsrael and because it’s like peering into Israeli society.”
There was a time when “Israeli production” was basically a synonym for “awful.” But today, Ruskin notes, even Israeli TV is inspiring the United States, with American shows like “Homeland” and “In Treatment,” both of which began as series inIsrael.
For a complete list of guests and films, and for ticket and registration information, please call (248) 661-1000 or visit www.jccdet.org.