«Jewish Observer»
December 2002
5763 Tevet

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A Week of Israeli cinema has passed in the Central cinema house in Moscow.

The festival was opened with a film "Late marriage" - a tragicomedy from the life of Georgian Jews in Israel. Beside other things, the film is interesting by the fact one of the roles is played by a famous major Tomin from "Znatoki" - actor Leonid Kanevsky. A film's scriptwriter and producer David Kosashvili purposely arrived in Moscow to attend the Week's opening.

As is a custom, the Week of Israeli films was preceded by a press-conference to present the first deputy chairman of Union of cinematographers Gennady Poloka, president of Russia's Guild of cinema experts and critics Miron Chernenko and deputy mayor of Haifa Valentin Faiberg.

Gennady Poloka admitted he was one of the first Soviet cinematographers to attend a Jerusalem festival right after the perestroika. "When I saw Israeli films I understood this is a serious and original cinematograph. It is not quite established yet but with already definite traditions, - says Poloka. - First Israeli pictures appeared in 1920's. Two Jewish cinematographers went to the Soviet Union, purchased a camera (it was made in France), returned and started making films. So, a certain influence of our great deaf cinematograph is felt there. After the renaissance of the Russian national film showing, Israeli pictures will take their natural place in our cinemas. In my opinion, they deserve this".

Miron Chernenko continued the excursus into the history of Israeli cinema:

I recollect how in the year of 1961 or 1963 an Israeli picture was first showed at the Moscow film festival. I do not remember its name since it was extremely weak. Despite the fact those were 1960's, the film seemed to belong to Soviet cinema of 1930's. There are a number of absolutely unexpected exceptions, which can't be explained by the fact they took their studies with us. The point is that in the situation of Soviet Union's capitalist encirclement and State of Israel's hostile encirclement cinematographers of both countries used to create on the screen very similar things. Approximately in the first half of 1960's Israeli film-makers start scrutinizing the way people live. Everything began from this. In my opinion, they were making very interesting TV dramas. Those were such filmed TV spectacles telling about the life in provinces. There is even such cycle "Life in province". I barely picture to myself what the life in the sticks is like in such small country. This is correct psychologically as the life outside big cities is totally different. Israeli cinematographers issue around ten feature films a year. And one more thing. Unlike others, Israeli cinema has never had its own classic, a director to be followed after by the national cinema world. I don't know why it is so: be it due to a born Jewish individualism or, probably, quite on the contrary... Nonetheless, we can recall the names of world-known Israeli film-makers. For example, Moshe Mizrakhi, Oscar-winner for the film "How are you, Roza?" ("All life is ahead", 1977) with Simona Signore in the leading role. Moscow has seen films by Amos Gitai. He is not only a good director but, unlike many others, unusually prolific and often in the focus of press attention. French and American critics are much fond of him. We can already state with confidence - a new name has emerged in the Israeli cinematograph.

Valentin Fainberg, deputy Haifa's mayor, told about an annual film festival in Haifa. It was initially thought to become a Mediterranean festival to attract Arab countries and establish culture cooperation with the hostile to Israel countries. At present, dozens of countries, including Russia, take part in it. In particular, the last festival this autumn welcomed two Russian films: "Star" by Nikolai Lebedev and "Oligarch" by Pavel Lungin. The public met these films rather cordially - at least, the third of Haifa's population speak Russian. Halls were overcrowded. The Week of Israeli films in Moscow over, Moscow cinematographers are in big demand in Israel. Valentin Fainberg told the following in this regard, "In February we shall hold days of "Mosfilm" in Haifa. We shall select six films, invite a team of authors and organize a three-day showing in Haifa and the same - in Tel Aviv."


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