Critics' Choice: Selected Films Playing Today at the Haifa International Film Festival

Israeli Animation 10 A.M. in the Tikotin Museum. The program consists of short films, created for the most part by students at the country's leading animation schools. A variety of techniques were used to produce the films, from sketches to two-dimensional and three-dimensional computer animation. Even though the quality varies between films, they afford a glimpse of contemporary creative work in the field.

Two of the more interesting films include Ricardo Werdesheim's "Celestina," which is very impressive in its lovely plasticine animation; and "Golem," by Alon Boroda and Ron Nadel, a three-dimensional animation that tells the story of a little girl and the huge Golem she meets in the forest. Both films won this year's student film prize in the Asif competition for Israeli animation.

'Once Upon a Time ... Rome, Open City' 2:30 P.M. in the Tikotin Museum. This film, directed by Marie Genin and Serge July, was shown this year at the Cannes Festival. This documentary is part of the festival's homage to Italian director Roberto Rossellini, and it reconstructs the work on "Rome, Open City," his 1945 masterpiece. This film, Rossellini's fourth, was one of the first to come out of Italy after World War II. The film combines interviews with the director, who was one of the leaders of Italian neo-realism, his daughter, actress Isabella Rossellini, and directors Federico Fellini and Francois Truffaut.

'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' 7 P.M. in the Auditorium. This is Ken Loach's latest film. Though Loach has joined the Palestinian artists' call for a boycott of Israeli cultural events, including this festival, the organizers had the good sense not to be dragged into the struggle. In any case, "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Festival this year. The film is set in the 1920s, and depicts Irish guerilla groups fighting the British for independence. Through the story of two brothers, Loach follows the violent Irish fight for freedom, and it almost goes without saying that it is easy to find similarities between their conflict and the one in our region.

'Different Sky' 10 P.M. in the Rappaport hall. Ariel Talpalar's creation is participating in the festival's Israeli feature film competition. The film, starring Kais Nashef and Melanie Peres, tells the story of the love between a young Palestinian man and a Brazilian worker trying to survive despite the difficulties they face living in Israel.

Reviews by Nirit Anderman and Goel Pinto