Critics' Choice

Some of the films that will be screened today at the Haifa International Film Festival.

Table tennis and the great world

At 10 A.M. in the Panorama 2 theater there will be a screening of "Mongolian Ping-Pong," the second film by Chinese director Ning Hao. The film, which has breathtaking photography, tells about a boy who lives with his family in an isolated tent on the Mongolian grasslands. One day he sees a table tennis ball for the first time in his life, which leads him and his friends to embark on an adventurous journey.

A Sam Peckinpah classic

In the Cinematheque there will be a 12 noon screening of "The Wild Bunch," the classic 1969 film by Sam Peckinpah. The film tells about a gang of gunslingers that arrives in town to commit a robbery, but falls into a trap and is forced to flee after a bloody struggle in which many innocent citizens are also killed. It is particularly interesting to watch Peckinpah's film in light of the many directors, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, who have said that Peckinpah, who was not afraid to shatter myths and to present gory violence, is one of their sources of inspiration.

The murder of a president

At 4 P.M. in the Panorama 2 theater there will be a screening of the Korean film "The President's Last Bang," directed by Im Sang-soo. The film, which caused an uproar when it was first distributed in South Korea, tells the story of the murder of Korean president Park Chung-hee in 1979. The film combines documentary and other materials. More than an effort to reconstruct the event accurately, this is an attempt to present a clever satire about contemporary Korean society.

The regrettable death of a child

At the Tikotin Japanese Museum at 5:30 P.M. there will be a screening of the documentary film by Idit Avrahami, "Hilmi Shosha Died Naturally." The film traces the events that led to the death of the Palestinian child in the village of Houssan in October 1996, and the conviction of Nahum Korman, from the settlement of Beitar Illit, of his killing. Avrahami reconstructs the events on the day of Shosha's death. Shosha was 10 years old, and a decade after her death, the director returns to find out what has happened to the central figures who were involved.

Emotional roller coaster

The new film by Judd Ne'eman, "Nuzhat al-Fuad," will be shown at 9:30 P.M. in the Rappaport Theater. Ne'eman ("Journey of the Stretchers," "Magash Hakesef" aka Fellow Travellers), who served for years as the head of the film department at Tel Aviv University, received the 2006 Haifa Festival Award at the opening ceremony of the festival for his unique contribution to Israeli cinema. As in his films, in receiving the award he did not hesitate in his speech to bring in politics and called on the government to begin negotiating immediately with Hamas, Iran and Syria.

"Nuzhat al-Fuad," a full-length feature created by Ne'eman after 17 years of silence, tells the story of two young women who find themselves on an emotional roller coaster, which leads them to the edge. The film is participating in the official festival competition. Another new film by Ne'eman, which is also being shown at the festival, is the documentary "Sheherzade's Tears."

(Nirit Enderman and Goel Pinto)