Oscar-nominees, Israeli blockbusters, European documentaries and everything in between— Here are 27 films worth checking out at the Southeast’s largest film festival.
From Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado—the filmmakers behind the huge Israeli hit, “Rabies” (the first narrative feature I ever gave five stars)—”Big Bad Wolves” is the edgiest and darkest comedy you’ll see at AJFF this year. Quentin Tarantino named it the best film of 2013 and it went on to win three Ophir Awards out of eleven nominations. This is my most anticipated film of the 2014 festival.
In 1998, Linor Abargil was savagely stabbed and raped seven weeks before she represented Israel in the Miss World competition—where she was crowned the victor. Cecilia Peck’s documentary shares Abargil’s story and her worldwide crusade against sexual violence.
Award-winning Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski lit up the international festival circuit in 2013 with his latest, “Ida.” Following a young nun in 1960s Communist Poland, “Ida” promises to be one of the most quietly moving, artful films of the festival.
A French-Israeli hit packed with stars like Sasson Gabai, Raymonde Amsellem, Bar Refaeli and Hippolyte Girardot, “Kidon” is a stylish account of the Mossad-led 2010 assassination of Hammas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh.
A hit at Berlinale and nominated for eight Ophir Awards, “Rock the Casbah” follows IDF soldiers patrolling in Gaza. Capturing both sides of those caught in a terrible situation, “Rock the Casbah” is a beautiful, visceral look at the unfortunate reality of life in the Palestinian territories.
This year’s AJFF features six different Best Foreign Language Film Oscar submissions. “Bethlehem” and “Omar” come from Israel and Palestine, respectively—with “Omar” going on to be one of the five films to receive an Oscar nomination. “The German Doctor” comes from Argentina, “In the Shadow” from Czech Republic, “The Third Half” from Macedonia and “Transit” from The Philippines. “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject.
- “The German Doctor”
- “In the Shadow”
- “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”
- “Omar” (pictured)
- “The Third Half”
From cultural documentaries like “Natan” and “Sukkah City” to historical docs like “The Last of the Unjust,” there is plenty of non-fiction programming at this year’s fest. European narratives like “Aftermath” (Poland) or “Like Brothers” (France) share the schedule with South American thrillers like “God’s Slave.” Israeli features like “The Wonders” play multiple venues and promise to be big hits with the AJFF audience.
- “God’s Slave”
- “Hunting Elephants”
- “The Last of the Unjust”
- “The Last Journey: The Last Days of the Jews of Rhodes”
- “Like Brothers”
- “Sukkah City” (pictured)
- “The Wonders”
- 25th: “Driving Miss Daisy” (pictured)
- 40th: “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
- 50th: “The Pawnbroker”
- 75th: “Kol Nidre”