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Israeli film industry gets bold

Reality films such as the Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday and Farenheit 9/11 are favoured by Israelis, who are trying to make realism their film industry's watch-word.

entertainment Updated: Jun 07, 2007 16:57 IST

In a country where people love romantic comedies and where the arts have to take a backseat in the face of constant violence, the Israeli film industry is trying to shed time-tested formulas and take on new, bolder themes.

It's an age of transition for Israeli films that are gradually exploring subjects like the complexities of modern existence and relationships, says top Israeli film-maker Shira Richter.

"We face difficulty in making different films because everybody in the industry wants to have romantic comedies which would be successful rather than have very different cinema which would run a risk," Richter told IANS in an interview.

She is in India for a four-day Israeli film festival being held here from June 4-7. Indians turned up in large numbers to see cinema from the country that has for long been at the vortex of an unending conflict in the volatile Middle East.

"Now there is a little more scope to make films with different subjects, more and more filmmakers are willing to experiment with their projects because people also want to see them," said Richter, whose film Two States Of Mind was screened at the festival.

The festival also showcased seven other films -- Things Behind the Sun, Aviva My Love, Tied Hands, Three Mothers, A Working Mom, Provence United and Watermarks -- which probe themes ranging from the region's politics to tumultuous and complex relationships.

The Israeli film industry is catching up as films and documentaries based on reality like Farenheit 9/11 from the US and Black Friday from India are drawing the attention of film lovers.

Film-makers say the country's fight with Palestine is to some extent responsible for making the arts, health and basic amenities take a backseat in Israel.

"In everyday life, you don't think of it (the violence) because you have to work, go out and make money," said Richter.

"But everybody is affected by it without knowing it and you feel it when there are budget cuts for culture, education and health."

"It is then that we have less money from the country and the government to make films but I hope and I believe that everything will be fine one day."

First Published: Jun 07, 2007 16:14 IST