The Sapir College presents:
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“The poor pay for everything, the rich have it all…”
José Saramago - Memorial do Convento

I chose this quote from Saramago’s novel after an interview for the ‘curator’s book’ with the director Yaky Yosha. During our conversation I had an overwhelming sense that this quote was
applicable to many of the films in the upcoming Festival, as well as to this region of the country. Here, south of Ashkelon, where we work and live close to the Gaza-Sderot border, is still
considered by many as “cursed and contaminated”.
It seems that Israeli society is still not prepared to take a good look and contend with one of the most injured regions in its midst. Contrary to its very poor image, those who dare to travel
south beyond Ashkelon’s city limits will discover a gap between the widespread view of “Adventurers” who are willing to break through the image barrier may discover an exciting place,
perhaps the last of its kind, where an overt show of compassion, warmth, intimacy and awareness are tangible, devoid of cynicism and alienation.

We, at the festival, deem the ‘South’ vital to the human soul, especially in this technological and alienating age. The ‘South’ is not only a geographical region, somewhere on earth, but a
concept that was born out of poverty and oppression. Perhaps, as such, it allows us more freedom as we are untethered by the mainstream norms of a hegemonic culture. We believe
the path to creating an individual who strives for the freedom of a civil society as an alternative to a world that hides behind liberal values and a global village that often masks totalitarian
thought. Perhaps a quote such as “The poor pay for everything…” is liable to be interpreted as bitterness, yet for me, this quote actually expresses honor and pent up power in individuals who are forced to continue countering the mainstream and defying standard trends. The Cinema South Festival endeavors to bring the voices of the marginalized to the centre of the social
and cultural discourse. Now more than ever we sense the great urgency for these voices. We believe it is the ‘poor’ who will free our minds, offering a mirror that forces us to confront ourselves in the most sincere fashion.

In the Festival’s opening film, “The Revolution Handbook”, Doron Tsabari compels Ori Inbar to fight the obtuseness of public broadcasting managers. We experience here, not only the corruption and injustice that plagues the broadcasting authority, the government offices and Knesset committees, neither the helplessness of the citizen on the street. We experience primarily the Don Quixote like acts of sacrifice of young people growing up in front of the screen and fighting to the very last drop of their strength. Fortunately, just when it seems they are depleted by the wrongdoing and injustice of the ruling mechanisms and are about to give up, their strength is restored and they embark on a final battle, even if it entails no more than another sysiphean defeat.

In the closing film of the festival, “Once I Was”, Avi Nesher focuses the spotlight on two Holocaust survivors from ‘over there’ : Yankale Breid (Adir Miller), a petty matchmaker who makes his living from the black market and Mrs. Clara Epstein (Maya Dagan), who invites people into her home to gamble and be entertained in a European pre-world war style. Nesher
suggests we view these two outcasts as we would protagonists struggling for their status in the face of the terrifying ‘Big Other’, the establishment of the up and coming Jewish State. To survive this struggle they have to lie or conceal facts about their lives. Nesher shows this establishment to be ill-equipped to contend with diversity or neediness and as a result must remove these protagonists from society’s symbolic space.

In this year’s festival program most of the major filmmakers’ protagonists are those removed from the social hegemony. They are individuals who live in a space that exists at the
less secure extremities of life. These protagonists belong to the underprivileged classes that defy the society with an establishment that seem more oppressive than ever. The films by Harutyun Khachatryan from Armenia, Brillante Mendoza from the Philippines, Natalia Almada from Mexico, who are all guests of the festival, Avi Nesher, Doron Tsabari, Ori Inbar, Avishai
Sivan, Yaky Yosha, Ze’ev Revach, David Gavro, Dori Rivkin, Bazi Gete, Lina and Slava Chaplin and many others, bring together a cinema that focuses upon the stories of the deprived
and the price they must pay for their unwillingness to forego the dearest of all – their faith.

Welcome to the 9th Cinema South Festival. Though the Festival undoubtedly does not offer an escape from an unacceptable cruel reality, we invite you, the public, to a five day event full of human warmth and unmediated intimacy. We invite you to a vital space for encounters with individuals from diverse global cultures and open discussions about fascinating, challenging cinema for which art does not suffice, but seeks to ask the questions of life. We thank all the wonderful filmmakers who shared in the production of this year’s Festival and all the individuals from the private and public sectors that help us achieve the impossible
every year anew.

Dr. Avner Faingulernt
Head of the Department of Film & TV
Director and Founder of the Cinema South Festival



עיצוב האתר: אולגה גולצר