On Thursday, July 9th, the Israeli film scene was brought to center stage with the opening of the 32nd Jerusalem Film Festival. This year was the first since the controversial move to pull the film “Beyond the Fear”, the documentary based on Yigal Amir who killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabain in 1995.

Roy-Dekel-FilmFestThe biggest concept this year is: mixing political and socially charged films, featuring controversial directors such as Hadar Morag, Evgeny Ruman, and Avishai Sivan. Morag’s film titled “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me” follows the journey of Muhammad, a man with family ties to a collaborator with Israeli security services. Muhammad befriends a lone ranger who rides his motorcycle into the inner city. Ruman’s psychological drama, “The Man in the Wall”, spans over one night in a Tel Aviv Apartment. The film was recently played in Rotterdam where it was nominated for a Fipresci prize. The 2010 Cannes Golden Camera winner, Avishai Sivan, will be showing “Tikkun,” the story of a ultra-Orthodox scholar who is involved in a serious accident, which in turn makes him apathetic to his studies. His father, who brought him back to life is tormented by thinking he has crossed God’s will.

International standouts include the critically acclaimed Amy Whinehouse documentary, “Amy,” by British born Asif Kapadia, and Taiwanese director Hou Hsais-Hisen’s, “The Assassin.” The festival also will have special features, including an appearance from this years Lifetime Achievement award winner John Turturro and a screening of the drama “Mia Madre” from Italian director Nanni Moretti. Turturro will also be involved in master classes with Gitai and Seidl.

The 10th anniversary of the Jerusalem Pitch Point session will include a focus on co-producers between international cinema and Israel, and a panel on the topic of Israeli cinema in the eyes of foreign media. The festival will conclude on Sunday, July 19th with a open-air screening of “The Godfather”, and a live orchestral score conducted by John Freer.