Third Dispatch from the Jerusalem Film Festival

Print More

Third set of notes from the Jerusalem Film Festival from Tikkun’s correspondent Olga Gershenson!
Three films for today: first “The Cakemaker”–from the first-time Israeli director Ofir Raul Grazier, starring an incomparable Sara Adler. Here is the story: an Israeli businessman Oren has an affair with a German baker on his frequent trips to Berlin. After he dies, the German is distraught; he comes to Jerusalem, and has an affair with Oren’s wife! The German-Israeli love affair across gender, religious, and sexuality boundaries is reminiscent of “Walk on Water,” but with a lot more food porn (specifically pastry) and even more schmaltzy, if that is possible. On the other hand, the performances are brilliant and the filming of Jerusalem rises to the level of visual poetry.

Image courtesy of THE CAKEMAKER (2017) & Jerusalem Film Festival

Then the real gem–Hungarian “1945” by Ferenz Torok. A black-and-white austere picture set in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, when two Jews come with a mysterious load to a Hungarian village. Their arrival, filmed like in a Western or in a thriller, starts panic among the villagers, all of whom are implicated in sending Jews to their deaths… It took the filmmakers 12 (!) years to make it, in the face of internal political opposition and lack of funding.

Q&A with the filmmakers of 1945, moderated by Annette Insdorf. Photo by Olga Gershenson

Finally, “Scaffolding”–at first it feels like an Israeli “Dead Poets Society”–a talented teacher, difficult students, etc, we’ve seen this before. But the interesting thing is that the guy who made it, Matan Yair, is an actual teacher in that kind of school, and he cast his actual former student in the lead role. He even kept the guy’s name (Asher Lax). The dialogue feels authentic and the film has a slice-of-life quality.
Olga Gershenson is a Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.