Israeli Film Festival at Park Theatre Jan. 14 and 15


Three award-winning Israeli films will be featured at the Israeli Film Festival at the Park Theatre in Cranston on Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15.

“In viewing these films, American audiences will have a chance to connect with Israel and Israelis on a more intimate level than they would just watching the nightly news,” said Jorie Sapir, director of public diplomacy for the Consulate General of Israel to New England. “There is no medium better than film at bringing cultures to life, and we hope that through watching these films the audience will get to explore a more nuanced view of Israel and see that we struggle with the same issues and share the same hopes and values as Americans.”

The films, in Hebrew with English subtitles, include:

“The Matchmaker.” It is the summer of 1968, right after the Six Day War. Arik is 16 years old when his best friend’s cousin, Tamara, comes to visit for the summer. She is an American girl, espousing free love and rock’ n roll.

The film follows two parallel, poignant and intersecting stories – Arik’s summer job with Yanekle, who works as a marriage broker and deals in smuggled goods, and Arisk’s love affair with Tamara.

Yanekele is a Holocaust survivor whose office is in Haifa, where Arik quickly learns about prostitution and illegal gambling. Arik is living in two disparate worlds. He is growing up in a middle class neighborhood high up in the mountains in Haifa, where he goes to youth movement meetings. He also has a summer job in the seedy section of the city, where he’s meeting all kinds of people and learning about love and crime.

This is a remarkable coming of age story, filled with love, despair and malice. It combines young love with Holocaust memories, vivid and quirky characters in a time when Israelis were still unable to grapple with the Holocaust.

Adir Miller won the best actor award and Maya Dagan received the best actress award from the Israeli Film Academy for “The Matchmaker.” The film, which will be featured in the Israeli Film Festival in Manhattan in 2012, also received a silver plaque from the International Feature Film Competition.

“The Matchmaker” will be shown at the Park Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

“A Matter of Size” is a comedy about a “coming out” of a different kind – overweight people learning to accept themselves. The plot seems light, but it has deeper philosophical and political implications as four people struggle with live, life and extra fat. Most importantly, it puts Israel and Israelis into a normal perspective and does the same for the problem of obesity. It puts a new spin on overweight people, examining all kinds of relationships, not only between Jews and Gentiles but also between men and women, gays and heterosexuals, parents and grown children and prisoners and wardens.

The film won the Grand Prix at the International Comedy Film Festival in 2010 and the Award of the Israeli Film Academy in 2009. The film stars Itzik Cohen, Dvir Benedek Alon Dahan and Irit Kaplan, who received the best actress award from the Israeli Film Academy. “A Matter of Size” will be shown at the Park Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m.

“Restoration.” When his business partner of many years dies suddenly, Jaakov Fedelman realizes his antique furniture restoration shop is on the point of bankruptcy. Fidelman’s son, who doesn’t get along with his father, wants to close the shop for good. A ray of hope arrives in the form of apprentice Anton, who discovers an old Steinway piano in the back of the shop, which could conceivably be repaired for enough money to restore the shop to solvency. Those who appreciate a film in which things are expertly made or done will find “Restoration” appealing. It’s a well-crafted story about things we value.

“Restoration” won awards from the Israeli Film Academy, the Asia Pacific Screen Guild and received the Wolgin Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Sasson Gabai also was selected as the best actor by the Israeli Film Academy.

“Restoration” will be shown at the Park Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for all three shows may be purchased for $21. Individual show tickets are $10 each.

Call the Box Office at 467-7275 or visit


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