25 February 2012

Big Nights

 I'm willing to say the average U.S. citizen 1) gleans most of his or her understanding of the Middle East or, more specifically, Israel from CNN and 2) doesn't have an Israeli on his or her speed dial. Thus, the average citizen doesn't know what everyday life in Israel is like. As any media studies yahoo could tell us, the media a society produces necessarily has embedded and encoded therewith information about itself. (So, for cultural and educational reasons, I invite you to experience this commercial of mind-boggling cheesiness featuring Yehuda Levi, the hottie from Yossi & Jagger.)

For this reason, I think Israeli film is an excellent "gateway drug" to Israeli society for numerous reasons. I'm not backing myself up with a theorist, but I think the visual experience makes it easier to transpose oneself into a setting. Like, oh, there are palm trees everywhere in Tel Aviv. These are the kinds of cups people use for tea. This is what pay phones in Israel look like. It's easier to "get" what Israeli society is about or like watching The Bubble than, say, attending a dance concert choreographed by Ohad Naharin.

Here are some opportunities to get into Israeli films.

Courtney's Israelicious Film Night Series
This evening we're screening Walk on Water. I got the DVD yesterday afternoon. This may seem like the Israeli film everyone and their auntie has seen dozens of times, but at least three people who haven't seen it will be joining us tonight.

The Oscars
Obviously, the biggest deal. If Footnote wins on Sunday, there will be more interest in Israeli films internationally. And more opportunities for different kinds of filmmakers to get their work out. Maybe I'll even dress up.   

Madison Israeli Film Festival
Also on Sunday! I'm was so excited yesterday I started to get tears in my eyes. The festival kicks off tomorrow with a screening of Super Boy! This is a superduperfun family event. Come for Purimpalooza (P.S. not an official term), snackies, and general merriment of face-painting and mask-making. Prizes! Games! Come to hang out, help out, or both. Starts at 1PM. Movie at 2PM.

This is the only MIFF event during the daytime. The other screenings will be evening events. 

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