Nine Israeli Movies Heading for Toronto Film Festival

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Actress Natalie Portman poses for photographers at the 67th Venice Film Festival. Credit: Reuters

No fewer than nine Israeli films are on offer at the Toronto International Film Festival, according to the updated official list, released this week. The latest Israeli films to be added to the list are: “The Kind Words,” (director Shemi Zarhin), “Baba Joon” (director Yuval Delshad); “A Tale of Love and Darkness” (director Natalie Portman); and two short features: “One Last Night” (director Kerem Blumberg); and “Latchkey Kids” (directed by Elad Goldman).

The Toronto festival, one of the most important film festivals in the world – although it is not competitive – will open on September 10.

“The Kind Words,” which some 150,000 people have already seen in Israel, is on the shortlist for the Ophir Prize this year, with 12 nominations. The film tells the story of three brothers who make a journey from Jerusalem to Paris and Marseille and back in time – to Algiers of the 1960s, in the footsteps of a great secret from the past, whose sudden discovery puts them to the test. It will be screened in Toronto under the category of contemporary world cinema.

Another film to be screened in this category is “Baba Joon.” This is the first Persian-speaking film to be made in Israel (which will also participate in the upcoming Haifa Film Festival). The film follows a 13-year-old boy whose father expects him to join him working on his turkey farm although he wants to follow his hobby of renovating old cars.

“A Tale of Love and Darkness,” actress Natalie Portman’s debut as a director, will be given a special screening at the Toronto festival after it premiered at the last Cannes Film Festival. It is based on the eponymous autobiographical novel by Amos Oz.

The two short features will appear in the category entitled “Short Cuts.” “One Last Night” is a Lesbian punk drama about two young girls, which takes place on the last night before one of them leaves Berlin. Outside a punk performance, one of them jumps in to help the other one, and both are arrested by the police. “Latchkey Kids” tells of a young brother and sister who come home every day to an empty house. While the sister tries to deal with the world outside, her brother feels that home is the safest place and refuses to grow up and separate from his sister.

The Israeli films whose participation at the Toronto festival has already been announced are: “Rabin, the Last Day” (director Amos Gitai); the documentaries “Here and Not There” (director Danae Elon) and “Thru You Princess” (director Ido Haar); and the Polish-Israeli co-production “Demon” starring Itay Tiran, based on the legend of the Dybbuk.

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