There are six titles by Israeli filmmakers in various sections, including Nadav Lapid in the main competition, Eran Kolirin in Un Certain Regard and Ari Folman's latest outing

he presence of films from Israel is very prominent this year at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival (6-17 July), with filmmakers from the country participating in all major sections: four features and two shorts will have their premieres at the leading gathering. Furthermore, the Israeli Film Pavilion will host a series of events during the Cannes Marché du Film.

Ahed's Knee, the newest film by Nadav Lapid, following his Berlinale Golden Bear-winning Synonyms [+], is premiering in the main competition. The film tells the story of Y., a filmmaker in his forties, who arrives at a remote village on the edge of the desert to screen one of his films. There, he meets Diamond, a clerk at the Ministry of Culture, and finds himself waging two lost battles: one against the death of artistic freedom in his country, the other against the death of his mother. The movie was co-produced by Pie Films together with Les Films du Bal, Komplizen Film and ARTE, while French outfit Kinology is handling the sales. Also, Lapid's short film Star will be screened at Cannes but will not be included in any competition.

In the Un Certain Regard section, Let It Be Morning, the latest film by Eran Kolirin (Beyond the Mountains and Hills [+]), is an adaptation of Sayed Kashua's novel, which follows the story of Sami, who thought he had found his place in life, but then, without any conceivable reason, the Arab village where he grew up is suddenly surrounded by an ominous wall. Now he is forced to deal with questions of identity and national belonging. The drama is an Israeli-French co-production staged by Dori Media Group and Les Films Du Poisson, with The Match Factory handling the sales.

Furthermore, Ari Folman’s long-awaited new animated feature, Where Is Anne Frank?, sees him return to Cannes eight years after The Congress [+]. The film, which will world-premiere out of competition, tells the story of Kitty, the imaginary girl to whom Anne Frank wrote her famous diary, who comes to life in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Her memories are reawakened by reading the diary, believing that if she's alive, Anne must be alive as well, and so she sets out on a quest to find Anne. Also, Shlomi Elkabetz's film Black Notebooks, based on the story of his sister, renowned Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz, who died of cancer in 2016, will have its premiere as a Cannes Special Screening. Finally, two short films, Elinor Nechemya's If It Ain't Broke and Mya Kaplan's Night Visit, will premiere in the Critics’ Week and the Cinéfondation sections, respectively.

As for the Marché du Film, the annual panel initiated and sponsored by the Israel Cinema Project - Rabinovich Foundation will deal with the changes in, and challenges facing, festivals and markets, which continue to play a vital role in the film industry. The panel will try to answer the question “What Has Been Gained and What Has Been Lost During the Past Year?” Moderated by Valerio Caruso, director of Cineuropa and team leader of the Delegation of the European Union’s project to support European film festivals, the panel features Elise Jalladeau, general director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival; Stefan Laudyn, director of the Warsaw Film Festival; Pnina Blyer, honorary president and creator of the Haifa Film Festival; Albert Wiederspiel, festival director of the Hamburg Film Festival; Tiina Lokk, founder and director of Tallinn Black Nights; and Beki Probst, founder of the EFM and advisor at the Berlin Film Festival.

As regards the activities of the Israeli Film Pavilion at Cannes, it will be hosting a series of meetings between filmmakers from Israel, Russia, Poland, Germany and France. Also, a panel with the creators of Where Is Anne Frank? will be organised to discuss the field of animated production, plus the pavilion will host a panel about short films with T\Port and Tel Aviv University, celebrating the films selected for Cannes.

published on cineuropa
written by Vassilis Economou