| Culture |

The Highs and Lows of the Miami Israel Film Festival

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Right on the heels of the Miami Jewish Film Festival, the 24th annual Israel Film Festival (the Miami edition) starts tonight and runs through February 25th. It opens with A Matter of Size, the same movie that opened the Miami Jewish Film Festival, a prime choice because it took home the Audience Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic and received 13 Israeli Film Academy nominations. In it, a 340-pound Israeli dishwasher decides to forgo dieting and waddles around in a faux-loincloth wedgie and throw down--sumo style--with his other overweight friends.

Check the festival schedule for a list of the 20-or-so films, but here's our take on one to skip and one to savor.

First, the bad:

In what is surely a miss for the festival, Mrs. Moscovitch and the Cats, directed by Jorge Gurvich follows a retired Israeli schoolteacher who falls down and can't get up, landing in the geriatric ward of a hospital. Suddenly faced with her overwhelming oldness, Mrs. Moscovitch is at turns depressed and reinvigorated as she makes friends and bags a boyfriend -- that is, until most everybody in the film keels over. The performances aren't stellar enough to rescue it from being just a grim view of Father Time's abuse. If you need to be reminded to fear getting old, becoming a crazy feline looney, and then dying alone, Mrs. Moscovitch and the Cats is for you.

Then, the good:

Oscar nominators clearly have a soft spot for Israel. In the last past

two years, Beaufort and Waltz With Bashir were both contenders but not

winners. But this year's Israeli film Ajami just might win. The

unscripted dialogue is mostly in Arabic; it was co-directed by Israeli

and Arab-Israeli filmmakers, Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti, virtual

no-names until now. And instead of actors, the directors cast cops to

play cops, and street kids as street kids. The film centers on the

ongoing ethic conflicts in the neighborhood of Ajami where it's not

only Jews v. Arabs, but also Christians v. Muslims, and urban Arabs v.

Bedouin. Ajami was shot in under three weeks for less than $1 million;

it's the anti-Avatar. Ajami is the closing night film for the festival on

February 25.

All Israel Film Festival films screen at Sunrise Cinemas Intracoastal (3701 NE 163rd St.,

North Miami Beach), and tickets cost $12. Call 877-966-5566 or visit


Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.