Thursday, October 30, 2014

Other Israel Film Festival Spotlight: Life Sentences

I’m delighted to be returning for the fourth time to cover the Other Israel Film Festival, which features a diverse crop of Israeli and Palestinian cinema and is hosted by the JCC Manhattan. The 8th Annual Other Israel Film Festival will take place November 6th-13th, 2014.

Life Sentences
Directed by Nurit Kedar and Yaron Shani
Screening November 6 at 7pm, November 8 at 7pm, and November 9 at 4pm

The opening night selection of the festival has a fittingly fascinating premise: an immigrant to Canada reflecting on his childhood as the son of a Jewish mother and an Arab father who was convicted of terrorism in the 1960s. After moving with his sister mother and sister to Canada following the arrest of his father, the subject of this documentary grows up feeling distinctly out of place in the Orthodox Jewish community and longing for a connection with the father he barely knew. As his sister is pulled into the Orthodox world and he drifts towards his Muslim family, it’s immensely interesting to see just what an effect his history has had on him. It’s a stark topic on which to start this festival, highlighting one of the most extreme situations of splintered identity based on two vastly different cultures. Its specific experience may not provide much guidance for the world at large, but its focus is certainly thought-provoking.

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