Wednesday | 21.02.24

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Monthly Screenings

ReFILM: Restoration Film Festival

The tremendous technological changes that cinema has undergone in the last decade, primarily the transition from film to digital, make it possible for many films to return to the screens and make world heritage treasures available to the public. Considerable activity in this field is also taking place here in the Israel Film Archive at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the cumulative products of which can be found on the archive's website www.jfc.org.il.

ReFilm, the program celebrating restored treasures of cinema, was formed to broaden the view of archival work - here and around the world.

As in previous editions, the Cinematheque turns the spotlight on a cinematic discovery, a hidden treasure. This year we are proud to present a tribute to American. director Michael Roemer.

Michael Roemer was born in 1928 in Berlin. In 1939, he arrived in Britain, as part of the Kindertransport, then moved to the USA in 1945 and began studying at Harvard. "I was always an outcast," a fugitive, the son of a divorced mother. He discovered film during his studies, though he was not impressed by Hollywood cinema and wrote enthusiastic reviews of Kurosawa, Dreyer, and Bresson. The transition to behind the camera began not long after, in collaboration with who would be his professional partner in the years to come - Robert Young. To begin, he directed dozens of training and educational films; following, he directed a documentary for NBC, which was shelved due to its neorealistic depiction of poverty. However, Roemer continued to hone his cinematic style. In 1964, he directed his first feature, Nothing but A Man. To this day, the film is rightly considered a seminal work for its candid approach to the life of the African-American community in the 1960s South. Roemer employed what would become his trademark, a combination of observation devoid of clichés, contrasting his heroes with the society's obstacles. He maintained a sympathetic approach to his heroes but avoided unnecessary sentiments. The result is stunning in its honesty and emotional punch. But Roemer, who felt that the work surrendered to the American way where the heroes' determination can overcome reality, was disappointed. His next film was shot in the late 1960s and described the goings of a Jewish gamber kinpin after his release from prison. The film was met with a cold shoulder, and Roemer shelved it for 20 years. When he submitted the work to the Cannes and Toronto festivals, The Plot Against Harry was finally recognized for its brilliance. His third film, Vengeance Is Mine, is a melodrama of manners that takes place within the social reality of New England, and at the center are women whose lives are turned upside-down.

Roemer's body of work reveals a complex and intelligent filmmaker: suitable for the historical moment in which the films were made, with cleverly written scripts, and complex protagonists. Viewing his movies evokes a feeling of missing an original and singular filmmaker, whose circumstances steered his career into the margins. In the past year, and amazingly in the tenth decade of his life, Roemer has been rediscovered by the world.

The Michael Roemer Focus was made possible with the generous assistance of The Film Desk distribution company, with special gratitude to Jacob Perlin for his kindness and diligence. 

ReFilm is a celebration of the seventh art. This is an opportunity to meet films from all over the world - masterpieces that can finally be screened in the best quality, new films that are created based on old archive films and also rare films that suddenly gain attention and reveal new-old filmmakers. We invite you to join us on a fun and surprising journey to discover or revisit these treasures.

Brick and Mirror

Dir.: Ebrahim Golestan
| 125 minutes

When a woman abandons a baby in the backseat of his cab, a taxi driver embarks on a journey through the city’s unfeeling bureaucracy to find the infant a home. With B&W cinematography shifting between expressionism and silent naturalism, Golestan reveals his protagonists to be everyday poets, whose perspective is anything but simple.

The Executioner

Dir.: Luis García Berlanga
| 90 minutes

A stupendous comedy in which a young bachelor, who works as an undertaker, finds a match with the daughter of an executioner he meets at work. Elegant cinematography and terrific performances add up to one of the great classics of Spanish cinema.

A Difficult Life

Dir.: Dino Risi
| 119 minutes

A Difficult Life is a social and humane portrait of Italy from the end of WWII till the mis 1960s. What would seem like some historical debate transforms, in the hands of director Dino Risi, into a glorious comedy that is as relevant as ever.

Nothing but a Man

Dir.: Michael Roemer
| 95 minutes

The relationship between a blue-collar worker and a young teacher is the basis for this tremendous drama depicting the life of African Americans in the 1960s USA. The heroes' devotion to life and the courage to do the right thing create an emotionally and humanly satisfying experience.

Bringing Up Baby

Dir.: Howard Hawks
| 102 minutes

Grant is an uptight paleontologist; Hepburn is the dizzy heiress that turns his life upside-down. Bringing Up Baby is considered one of the best comedies ever made, with its rapid turn of events and the elegant presence of the two leads.

Alphaville

Dir.: Jean-Luc Godard
| 100 minutes

Godard ventures into science-fiction and presents a vision of a futuristic society: sleek, dark, glittering and soulless. Featuring secret agents Lemmy Caution and Harry Dixon.

My Man Godfrey

Dir.: Gregory La Cava
| 93 minutes

A young woman hires a tramp as a butler for her somewhat strange family, little dreaming that he is an eccentric millionaire. With its rapid script, dynamic camerawork, and gleeful performances, My Man Godfrey is one of the best screwball comedies of all time.

מחווה למייקל רומר

The Plot Against Harry | Faces of Israel

112 Minutes
The Plot Against Harry - Harry Plotnick, a small-time Jewish gangster, is released from jail and discovers no one is waiting for him. This is a heartwarming drama, with touches of comic genius, that presents a bold picture of a time and place (NYC in the 1960s) | Faces of Israel - In 1966, director Michael Roemer came to Israel to conduct research for a film about Martin Buber. The short film before us was edited from the footage he shot. These are short segments from a young country: It is an impressionistic portrait of a country in the making.

Undercurrent

Dir.: Kōzaburō Yoshimura
| 104 minutes

Kiwa creates handmade kimono and tie designs. Her father wishes to see her married, but Kiwa only has eyes for a scientist whose wife is dying. The tension between tradition and progress and softness and candor are presented in this striking and mesmerizing work.

Between Revolutions

Dir.: Vlad Petri
| 68 minutes

Maria and Zahra meet in the late 1970s in Bucharest. But as the Islamic Revolution spreads in Iran, Zahra returns home. Their correspondence, which continues until Ceausescu's regime falls, reveals their private lives and the countries' predicaments. Captivating and heartfelt, Between Revolutions is created entirely from archival footage.

The Conversation

Dir.: Francis Ford Coppola
| 113 minutes

A surveillance expert becomes personally interested in a case and finds himself involved with a murder. As always with Coppola, something in his cinematic syntax, pace, and emotional momentum, captures the eye and ear. The result is spellbinding, stimulating, and exhilarating.  

Focus on Michael Roemer

Vengeance Is Mine

Dir.: Michael Roemer
| 118 minutes

Trying to escape her troubled relationship and part with her adoptive mother, Jo returns to her childhood town in Rhode Island, only to discover crises are awaiting around every corner. This family drama takes unexpected turns to reach surprising places.