“Matzor,” The Siege: Film Review

 The Siege Film Review

When “Matzor” opens, you hear three long beeps. Every Israeli recognizes that sound. Every Israeli knows that it is followed by the hourly news update. That sound hasn’t changed in fifty years, and neither has the news itself: the list of casualties and traffic accidents.

That is, perhaps, the strongest message of Matzor, whose name means “Siege” in Hebrew, screened this week during the Jerusalem Film Festival: Our clothes may be different, our cities might look different, but one thing remains the same - the cycle of violence continues.

 In her introductory speech, Gila Almagor, the first lady of Israeli cinema  and the star of Matzor, said, “In war, there are no victors.”  This is apparent throughout the movie.  Tamar, the protagonist, played by Almagor, has lost her husband –for her, the victories of 1967 are pure sorrow. Everyone around her is also traumatized. Picnics and parties are interspersed with flashbacks of war memories, and even those who escaped physically unharmed suffer from mental anguish.

The film itself, which has been digitally remastered by the Jerusalem Cinematheque Archives, is visually stunning. ; Its strong cinematography, acting, and screenplay won it nominations at the Cannes Festival in 1969. Seeing it on the big screen, in the presence of the film’s leading lady, was a special treat. After the screening, guests gathered on the patio to celebrate the rededication of this vital piece of Israeli film history.

The screening of Matzor took place as part of the Jerusalem Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, a project of the Jerusalem Foundation. The festival continues through July 23rd and is not to be missed!

Just in case you’re not feeling ‘cinemathequely’ inclined, here are a few other things you can do this weekend:

Meir Ariel Retrospective at Beit Avichai, Thursday July 20, 8 pm:

This retrospective of the famous Israeli singer/songwriter/poet will focus on his observations of Israeli society.

The Buttering Trio at the Yellow Submarine, Thursday, July 20, 9 pm:*

Imagine Bach meats Techno, add in a great vibe and some drinks, and you’ve got a pretty accurate picture of this Saturday night concert.

Creative Mornings: Equality at Hansen House, Friday, July 21, 10 am:*

What does equality mean? How do we achieve it? Come to this event to hear Israel’s leading creative from a variety of fields explore this burning philosophical issue.

Hamsa Hamsa at the Tower of David, Friday, July 21, 10 am:*

Ever wondered about the history of the Hamsa –the hand-shaped good luck charm that is so popular across Israel? The Tower of David Museum offers a unique tour that uses the Hamsa as a lens through which to learn about Jerusalem.

Reggae on the Roof at the Post Hostel, Friday July 21, 12 pm:

Reggae, a rooftop, and Friday afternoon –what could be better? Get ready to bust out your dance moves.

Jam Shishi at Gola Concert Terminal at First Station, Friday, July 21, 2 pm:

This series of chill Friday music at First Station is a great way to start the weekend.

Zaaluk at Nocturno, Saturday, July 22, 10 pm:

This band, named after a spicy Moroccan dish, bring a refreshing blend of North African musical traditions to the mix with their beautiful songs.

*Indicates a project or institution that receives support from the Jerusalem Foundation