Two Israeli Films to Compete at Venice Film Festival

Rama Burshtein's 'Fill the Void,' about Hasidic family in Tel Aviv, to vie for honors in official competition.

Two films by Israeli directors won entry to the 69th Venice Film Festival, which begins on August 29.

Rama Burshtein's "Lemaleh et Heh'halal" ("Fill the Void") will be entered in the official competition, while Idan Hubel's "Menatek Hamayim" ("The Cut-Off Man") will compete in the Horizons section of the festival.

Both films were subsequently withdrawn from the Jerusalem Film Festival, which opens Thursday, due to a request by the Italian festival to host the movies' international premieres.

"Fill the Void," which stars Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein and Irit Sheleg, revolves around a Hasidic family in Tel Aviv and the choice a young woman must make between her desires and her familial obligations.

Burshtein was in the second graduating class of Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel Film & Television School, which was founded in 1989. She became religiously observant a few months after completing her studies there. "Fill the Void" is her first film for a general audience and comes after several years of teaching film in religious girls' schools and making films specifically for audiences of ultra-Orthodox women.

The veteran actor Moshe Ivgy stars in "The Cut-Off Man" as the title character. His job, turning off the household water supply to people who have failed to pay their bill, subjects him to foul language, humiliation and accusations.

It is the first full-length film made by Hubel, who is also a Sam Spiegel alumnus. The Horizons section of the Venice festival is meant for films of various lengths that represent new cinematic trends.

Eran Kolirin's "Hahit'halfut" ("The Exchange") was screened in Venice last year, while in 2009 Shmulik Maoz's "Lebanon" was awarded the festival's biggest prize, the Golden Lion for Best Film.

Israeli films to compete in Venice
Daniel Tchetchik
Moshe Ivgy