One notable trend at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which continues through May 3, is the number of films in the program with Israeli directors or themes. The movies range in tone from light comedy to intense drama, and taken together offer both a probing examination of contemporary issues and a healthy snapshot of Israeli filmmaking. Below are a quick look at some of the notable films playing this year.
Defamation (Hashmatsa) — Yoav Shamir’s documentary examines anti-semitism in today’s world. From the Anti-Defamation League’s attempts to keep it in check to Norman Finkelstein’s theory that it’s being exploited by the Jewish establishment, Shamir throws himself in the middle of the debate.
A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol) — An underemployed chef in Ramla becomes fascinatied by sumo wrestling while working as a dishwasher in a Japanese restaurant. He and three friends escape their weight-loss group to learn the art of the sport in this light-hearted comedy.
Partly Private — Israeli-born director Danae Elon explores the cultural, religious and medical issues surrounding a quick snip as she decides whether or not to have her son circumcised.
Rachel — A documentary by French director Simone Bitton about Rachel Corrie, a 22-year-old American member of the International Solidarity Movement who died trying to prevent an Israeli army bulldozer from knocking down Palestinian homes in Gaza.
Seven Minutes in Heaven — A year after surviving a bus bombing that claimed the life of her boyfriend, a woman tries to piece together the events of that day. Debut director Omri Givon deftly blends narrative threads and moods as the film plays like part mystery, part drama and part metaphysical thriller.