Great film choices to commemorate Israeli Independence Day and Memorial Day available now on J-Flix.
J-Flix is an initiative of the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation showcasing the rich legacy of films from Canada’s leading presenter of Jewish-content film for 27+ years. Currently, over 135+ curated titles are available for streaming (for free!) including documentaries, feature length narratives, shorts, along with beloved archival films, all of which represent the global flavour of TJFF programming.
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MY FIRST WAR
82 mins | Israel | 2008
Director: Yariv Mozer
When Yariv Mozer is called up by his unit in the Israeli army during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, one of the first things he does is bring a camera. With this in hand, he gives us a personal view of the war, with all of its confusion, chaos and disorganization. This first-hand look at the conflict focuses on the soldiers – their fears, their problems and their reactions to the contradictory orders and facts surrounding the war. No other army would allow such open discussion to be recorded. At one point the government ordered a large land operation into Lebanon at the same time it accepted a ceasefire. The result was the unnecessary death of many young men and the open revolt of some soldiers who refused to obey their orders. Winner of TJFF’s 2009 David A. Stein Memorial Award.
INVENTING OUR LIFE: THE KIBBUTZ EXPERIMENT
81 mins | Israel, United States | 2012
Director: Toby Perl Freilich
A fascinating and deeply comprehensive look at some of the most famous kibbutzim: Degania (the first, flagship kibbutz), Sasa, Ein Shemer, Hulda and others. In this film, not only do we have an opportunity to see and hear from some of the founders as they discuss the philosophies behind their creation, but also from second and third-generation kibbutzniks, who talk of growing up on a collective; some reveal their experiences to have been nurturing, while others talk of having felt cheated and constrained. Most importantly, however, the film describes the changing faces of these kibbutzim, which were designed for a pioneering country that no longer exists. In an attempt to survive, they travel an unfamiliar road to adapt. Is there hope for the future of those who thrive in a collective setting? Can technological sophistication and collective living exist side by side while providing a caring environment?
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
74 mins | Israel | 2012
Director: Ran Tal
Languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Russian
“An increasingly rare meditation on the possibility of co-existence” (Ha’aretz). Winner of the Best Director of a Documentary Film Award at the 2012 Jerusalem Film Festival, The Garden of Eden follows a year in the life of Gan HaShlosha (better known as the “Sakhne”) one of the largest and most visited parks in Israel, and reveals the interaction among the diverse cross-section of Jews, Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, and various immigrant groups that swim, bathe, eat and play within this stunning stretch of nature. Filmmaker Ran Tal (Children of the Sun, The Museum) finds the visual beauty not just of the location, but also of the diverse people—their faces as well as their stories—and compassionately taps into the humour, sadness and dreams of this collective portrait.
A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS
99 mins | Israel, United States | 2015
Director: Natalie Portman
Vividly capturing the Jewish state in its infancy, Natalie Portman brings Amos Oz’ beloved and best-selling memoir to the big screen. Portman plays Oz’s mother Fania, who struggles to raise her son in Jerusalem on the eve of Israel’s independence and during the early years of the country.
CHILDREN OF THE SUN
71 mins | Israel | 2007
Director: Ran Tal
“A documentary film which depicts the early years of the Kibbutz movement with neither nostalgia nor slaughtering sacred cows, but with a keen eye, enthralling insight and unforgettable editing” (Amos Oz). The film’s artful and delicate mixing of rare archival footage with personal narration by kibbutz members is one of the most beautiful accomplishments of the Israeli cinema. Upon its release in 2007, the film earned filmmaker Ran Tal (The Museum, The Garden of Eden) many prizes from festivals in Israel and around the world, and established him as one of the most respected documentary filmmakers working in Israel today.
RABIN IN HIS OWN WORDS
101 mins | Israel | 2015
Director: Erez Laufer
Yitzhak Rabin had an exciting and emotional journey from being a shy redhead working the land to becoming one of the most important Prime Ministers in the peace process. From innumerable hours of candid recorded discussions with Rabin’s publicist, Rabin in His Own Words pieces together portions of these interviews with other recordings to tell of the road that culminated in the prime minister’s monumental solution for coexistence with Israel’s neighbours. His private thoughts and public iterations give us a rare intimate glimpse of the man.