Israeli films get personal with war and polygamy

Thu Apr 3, 2008 11:18am EDT
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By Rebecca Harrison

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - From one soldier's account of the Lebanon war to the tale of an Israeli African prince, a Tel Aviv film festival is looking beyond political conflict to examine broader issues of strife and identity in Israel.

"People associate Israel with hardcore news, with fighting and conflict," said Ilana Tsur, the event's director. "But it's important to see there's such a wide range of other facets to life."

The films at Tel Aviv's 10th international documentary film festival, which opens on Thursday, tackle meaty political themes such as Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and its 2006 war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

But they also examine private and cultural struggle in a young country -- Israel turns 60 next month -- where a Russian Holocaust survivor and an Ethiopian Jew, or an ultra-Orthodox family and a secular singleton might live as neighbors.

Tsur said that after years of dissecting Israel's fight with the Palestinians, young filmmakers were telling more personal stories, and turning their focus onto broader issues of identity within Israeli society.

About a quarter of the 80 films in the festival are Israeli.

"Brides of Allah" features Palestinian women serving Israeli jail sentences for helping plot suicide bombings.

Reserve soldier Yoshi Mozer made "My First War" after he was drafted for the Lebanon war and fought with his videocamera tied with a shoelace around his neck.   Continued...