Israel Cinema in the 21st Century

By | December 22, 2021

Israeli cinematography of the 21st century. has found a prominent place in the history of cinema for the presence of directors able to make it grow by addressing heterogeneous topics with a personal style, emerging from a narrative that, in previous decades, had concentrated almost exclusively on inherent historical, political, social issues the complex Middle Eastern situation. In a certain sense, the authors of the new Israeli cinema, together with a ‘historical’ author like Amos Gitai (v.), Have carried on, in a more stratified way, what, since the 1960s, has been called the cinema of ‘ new sensitivity ‘.

In the foreground was the work of Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz who, between 2004 and 2014, created a powerful trilogy on romantic relationships composed by Ve ‘Lakhta Lehe Isha (2004, Taking a wife), Shiva (2008, Seven Days) and Gett (2014; Viviane). Homosexuality has been described by Eytan Fox in films such as Yossi ve᾿ Jager (2002; Yossi & Jager) and Yossi (2012), a diptych with military protagonists of the army, in Ha-bua (2006, The bubble), the story of a city, Tel Aviv, and the love between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian boy, and in the musical comedy Bananot (2013, known as Cupcakes). Among the most acclaimed directors, we must mention Eran Riklis, who intensely narrated the conflict between Israel and Syria in Ha᾿kala ha᾿surit (2004; The Syrian bride) and between Israel and Palestine in Etz limon (2008; Il giardino of lemons) and Aravim rokdim (2014, known as Dancing Arabs ). With just a few titles, Keren Yedaya has built a solid path by highlighting unforgettable female figures in her debut film Or (2004, My Treasure) and the following Kalat ha᾿yam (2009, known as Jaffa) and Harhek miheadro (2014, known as That lovely girl). For Israel 1999, please check

Exemplary stateless filmography was that of Raphaël Nadjari, one of the most representative filmmakers of the new Israeli cinema. The first three films made in New York were followed by two works in the name of couple, family and religious tensions: Avanim (2004, Pietre), shot in Tel Aviv, and Tehilim (2007), in Jerusalem. Less convincing was the bizarre and wacky family comedy set in Haifa Me᾿al ha᾿giva (2013, known as A strange course of events).

Two notable beginnings were those of the filmmakers Vardit ‘Vidi’ Bilu and Dalia Hager with Karov la᾿bait (2005, Near home), the story of the friendship between two female soldiers in Jerusalem during the second Intifada, and of David Volach with Hufshat kaitz (2007, My Father, My Lord), where the peaceful existence of an Orthodox family is undermined by a disturbing premonition. Other valuable early works were Jellyfish (2007; Jellyfish), portrait of women in modern Tel Aviv Shira Geffen directed by actress and screenwriter and writer Etgar Keret; Bikur ha᾿tizmoret (2007; The band) by Eran Kolirin, surreal events of an Egyptian musical band in an Israeli village; and Samuel Maoz’s controversial Lebanon (2009), in which the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 is seen from inside a tank. The same historical episode was recounted by Ari Folman in the animated documentary Vals im Bashir (2008; Waltz with Bashir). Always attentive to experimentation, Folman then directed the sci-fi The Congress (2013) in the United States, a mix of animation and life scenes.

Avi Mograbi has entrusted to the documentary, containing autobiographical clues, his reflection on the Middle Eastern situation in Nekom ahat mi᾿shtei eynai (2005; For one of my two eyes), Z32 (2008), Nichnasti pa᾿am lagan (2012, Sono entered my garden).

Israel Cinema in the 21st Century