First up was a special free screening (Although as a pass holder, all screenings are free to me) of BRAVE MISS WORLD, a kinda brutal but kinda strangely uplifting documentary about Linor Abargil, Miss Israel of 1998 who went on to win the Miss World pageant. But what very few people knew at the time was she had been raped by her business manager just a couple months before. It took her a decade to be able to talk about it (other than at the trial.) And when she did, she became a powerful activist (that's the uplifting part.) The movie features her work around the world (most memorably South Africa, known as the rape capital of the world) and interviews from several rape survivors, including Fran Drescher and Joan Collins. It's a very powerful movie, sad and sobering while also giving the audience a compelling hero doing great work.
Well, after that I needed something fun, so I caught HUNTING ELEPHANTS, an Israeli bank heist comedy that I missed when it played at Cinequest. Jonathon's father is the head of security at a bank, but when the security system traps him inside during a heart attack, Jonathon can only watch as he dies. And because Jonathon wasn't supposed to be there, he doesn't even get the death benefits from the bank. So Jonathon's mother starts dating the bank manager (Moshe Ivgy, arguably the greatest actor in Israeli history, taking a more lighthearted role than usual.) And Jonathon spends more time in the care of his crotchety grandfather, a veteran freedom-fighter. And then none other than Patrick Stewart shows up (his introduction is pretty fantastic) as an aging actor and alleged heir to a fortune who is actually (SPOILER!) flat broke (END SPOILER.) Anyway, wacky hijinx ensue, and it's all inevitably leading to the gag of a 12 year old and a trio of geriatrics trying to rob a bank. And I won't bother telling you whether or not they succeed, you'll just have to find it yourself and watch it.
And finally, UNDER THE SAME SUN is a story of two businessmen trying to cross the Israel-Palestinian divide. Set in the near future, the two businessmen come up with an idea to install solar power in the Palestinian territories, freeing them from the Israeli power grid. But knowing the stigma against working with the other side, they both do most of their work in as much secret as possible. But when news gets out, things go to hell. It's an interesting look at the difficulty of people trying to cooperate across nearly impossible divides.
Total Running Time: 285 minutes
My Total Minutes: 372,330