On March 31 the Merage JCC opened its Pacific Jewish Film Festival Israeli Film Series with Human Resources Manager, the winner of five Israel Academy Awards including best picture. Two more award-winning Israeli films will be shown at the Merage JCC
The Matchmaker, Avi Nesher’s new feature film, (Hebrew title: Once I Was) will be shown on April 14 at 7 p.m. It is a story about love — searching for love, coming-of-age love and tragic love, all in the context of post-Holocaust Israel, where survivors were still hesitant to talk about their experiences. Set in the summer of 1968, a year after the Six Day War, the film follows two parallel, poignant and intersecting stories — teenager Arik’s summer job with Yankele, who works as a marriage broker and deals in smuggled goods; and Arik’s first love affair with Tamara.
The Matchmaker is a story told in flashback by the middle-aged Arik (played by Eyal Shechter as an adult and Tuval Shafir as a teen). Speaking to us from Haifa circa summer 2006 (under active bombardment during the Second Lebanon War), Arik is telling us a story about Haifa circa 1968, and therefore the coming-of-age depicted is Israel’s as much as his own.
Precious Life, a documentary about a four-month-old Palestinian boy from Gaza who was born without an immune system and required a bone marrow transplant that could only be done in an Israeli hospital, will be shown on April 28 at 7 p.m. The documentary was directed by Israeli broadcast journalist Shlomi Eldar and produced by Ehud Bleiberg and Yoav Ze’evi. It was an official selection of this year’s Toronto Film Festival and won the award for “Best Documentary” at the 2010 Israeli Film Academy’s Ophir Awards in Jerusalem. The film explores the challenges and prejudices that must be overcome when officials from conflicting nations attempt to put aside their differences for a noble cause.
Eldar is a journalist based in Israel, and in making this film, he surely hoped to build more understanding among people who have been at war for decades. If the film is widely seen, he just might succeed. HBO has acquired the rights to the film. The theme song and soundtrack of Precious Life were composed by the singer Yehuda Poliker.
Professor Menachem Hofnung will be discussing the film after the screening. Professor Hofnung has a Ph.D. in political science and a LLB degree in law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 1990 he has been teaching at the Department of Political Science of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also taught at the University of California at Irvine, San Francisco State University, the University of Florida at Gainesville and Moscow State University and was a research fellow at the Center for Law and Society at the University of California at Berkeley and Sydney University, Australia.
Advance tickets for each film are $8 for JCC members and $10 for the public. Tickets are $12 at the door. For tickets, contact the JCC at (949) 435-3400 or online at www.jccoc.org. The Merage JCC is located at 1
Federation Way in Irvine.