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    TIFF 2013: ‘Omar’ a hardened, well-made film about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

    The chronic, seemingly unsolvable Israeli/Palestinian conflict provides the perfect backdrop for narrative storytelling, as all the pieces are in place for a tense, personalized historical rendering. In fact, two other films this year have already addressed the issue: The Attack, from Lebanese director Ziad Douerir, and Zaytoun, from Israeli director Eran Riklis; each look at the personal toll caused by war. Inherently polemical discourse rarely makes much of an impact on the opposing side, and while bridge-gapping is sometime present in films dealing with this Middle Eastern crisis, it’s understandable when a more hardened approach is taken. Such is the case with Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar, a well-made Palestinian film that presents the experience with little interest in broaching peaceful dialogue More

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    Inside Out 2012: ‘Melting Away’ eventually succeeds in its war of emotional attrition

    Melting Away Written and directed by Doron Eran Israel, 2011 It’s rare to see something you’ve never seen before, and even rarer to see something that you categorically have. Doron Eran’s Melting Away, a story about a family rocked by cancer and transexualism, falls into the class of the latter. Schmaltzy, saccharine, and emotionally manipulative, […] More

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    TJFF 2012 Roundup: The good, the bad, and the ugly

    With the 20th Toronto Jewish Film Festival now behind us, it’s time to look back at all the films screened and determine which were the good, the bad, or the ugly. The Good OSS 117: Lost in Rio The most complimentary thing you can say about Michel Hazanavicius is something everyone acknowledged after his Oscar-winning […] More

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    TJFF 2012: ‘Off-White Lies’ is a lyrically offbeat comedy

    Off-White Lies Directed by Maya Kenig Written by Maya Kenig and Dana Diment Israel/France, 2011 As a parent, you can’t prepare the world for your children; the best you can do is prepare your children for the world. So what happens when a homeless, estranged father readopts his teenage daughter amongst the backdrop of a […] More

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    TJFF 2012: ‘Naomi’ is a study of incurious people being unlikeable for unknowable reasons

    Naomi Directed by Eitan Tzur Written by Edna Mazia Israel/France, 2010 If prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, then tales of infidelity must be one of the oldest forms of storytelling. From the bible to Nabokov, Adele’s entire discography to Adrian Lyne’s entire filmography, the devastating consequences of adulterous liaisons have provided ample inspiration for […] More

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    TJFF 2012: ‘My Australia’ is morally facile, tonally capricious

    My Australia Written and directed by Ami Drozd Israel/Poland, 2011 In the social and economic fallout that followed World War 2, ten-year old Tadek and his older brother Andrzej become victims of the decaying zeitgeist in post-war Poland.  They benightedly join a gang of hooligans with neo-Nazi attitudes, but after being arrested for beating up […] More

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    TJFF 2012: ‘A Bottle in the Gaza Sea’ is a half full, half empty experience

    A Bottle in the Gaza Sea Directed by Thierry Binisti Written by Thierry Binisti and Valérie Zenatti France/Canada/Israel, 2011   Friends who want to stay friends don’t discuss religion or politics. Contentious and divisive, discussions about these hot topic issues tend to lead to fiery debates, with interlockers entrenched in their predisposed ideologies. Verbal disputes […] More

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    TJFF 2012: ‘The Flat’ is a convoluted family tree

    The Flat Directed by Arnon Goldfinger Israel, 2011 Following the death of his grandmother, Arnon Goldfinger and his family take it upon themselves to clear out her now abandoned Tel-Aviv flat. Wanting to annex the place of dilapidated memories, Goldfinger and his family, instead, discover documents that lead them on a journey that uncovers forbidden […] More