(Host) Rutland’s Jewish Center kicks off an Israeli film series Saturday as part of the congregation’s year-long 100th anniversary celebration.
As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, organizers hope the films will give Vermonters a more nuanced view of Israel and the people who live there.
(Keck) Martha Molnar, a member of Rutland’s Jewish community. She says there’s so much more to Israel that what’s reflected in the news.
(Molnar) "We felt that there was a need in Rutland and in most places in the country and certainly in Vermont for people to be exposed to an Israel that they really – not only haven’t they seen personally but they don’t see it second hand either – they don’t read about it in the media."
(Keck) To provide a glimpse of Israel behind the conflict, the congregation chose three very different Israeli films. The first – which will be shown Saturday at the College of St. Joseph’s, is a humorous documentary called It’s About Time.
Ronen Schechner, the film’s cinematographer, grew up in Israel, but moved to Vermont in 2005. He says that while the concept of time is universal, he thinks Israelis do view it differently – partly because of their middle east culture and partly because of the way the country was founded.
(Schechner) "Israel was established in a war situation and it was very fast and immediate. We had to build places and houses for people – lots of immigrants came in a very short period of time. So the whole development was very fast."
(Keck) The film captures all sorts of Israelis – from taxi drivers and executives, to farmers and college students talking about time and how they perceive it. In one scene a group of older men plays dominos while one laments the tragic invention of coffee-to- go.
(Keck) "Sit and have a coffee for god’s sake" – he says as his friends nod.
Ronen Schechner says how people use time is incredibly personal and he says it’s interesting to see how different audiences react to the documentary.
(Schechner) "It’s a great movie and people who watch that movie are moved and they take something to their lives with that."
(Keck) The Israeli born cinematographer will talk with audiences in Rutland after the showing. Two other Israeli films – one a thriller and one a comedy – will be shown as part of the series in March and April.
For VPR news, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.
Rutland Jewish Center Film Series: Israel Beyond the Headlines
On February 19, March 12, and April 9 contemporary Israeli films will be screened at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland. Each film will be followed with a presentation by an expert, a lively Q&A session, and a wine reception.
February 19, 7 pm: It’s About Time
A documentary with a humorous postmodern approach that questions the meaning of time in Israeli society, with comments from a wide spectrum of Israelis. Includes Standup comedy by Yakov Cohen and musical performances by Jonathan Avishay’s jazz quartet.
Ronen Schechner, a cinematographer and director with international, national and local credits and the film’s cinematographer, will speak and answer questions following the screening.
March 12, 7 pm: Walk on Water
Following the suicide of his wife, an Israeli intelligence agent is assigned to befriend the grandchildren of a Nazi war criminal. Politically complex and ambitious, "Walk on Water" delivers a memorable story of guilt, revenge, and human connectivity.
April 9, 8 pm: Wisdom of the Pretzel
Golan, is a 30 year old student nearing the end of his college studies, and is having a hard time deciding about his future. At 30, he sees no point in getting a job, finding a wife or stopping the endless round of parties. Golan had always considered life to be about marrying well and attaining money, but after a blind date with his best friend’s quirky sister, he begins to question such beliefs. Golan then begins a personal journey that has him challenge everything he has ever believed, about himself, about love and about the nature of life in contemporary Israel.
NOTE: View film trailer at link below: