Eran Riklis, one of Israel's leading filmmakers, is heading to Atlanta for a series of free screenings and lectures.
Best known in the U.S. for "The Syrian Bride" (2004) and "Lemon Tree" (2008), Riklis will be a Schwartz Foundation artist in residence at Emory University starting Aug. 26. He will present three of his films and deliver three lectures. The director also will visit classes and supervise a student filmmaking project.
“Riklis’ films are celebrated for their humane, sensitive and understated exploration of the intimate and complex relationships between men and women, and between Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians," said Matthew H. Bernstein, chair of Emory's Department of Film and Media Studies. "As they explore the nature of identity, and more specifically what it means to be Israeli, his films are an eloquent cinematic voice for common understanding among various peoples, cultures and traditions.”
His newest film, "A Borrowed Identity" (originally titled "Dancing Arabs"), a coming-of-age tale about an Arab-Israeli teenager who attempts to blend in at a demanding Jerusalem boarding school before realizing it could be at the cost of his true identity, had its American premiere at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival. Having received strong reviews in a limited American run this summer, it is expected to open at the United Artists Tara Cinemas 4 on Sept. 4.
"The Middle East is hard to understand and quite often emotions, history, religion and bad blood get in the way of any common sense," Riklis told the (South Florida) Sun Sentinel.
He added that through the film, audiences can learn "that Israeli cinema is a cinema of concern, passion, compassion and respect to the society and people it concerns itself with."
Here is the schedule for Emory's program, “Forging Cinematic Identities: Eran Riklis”:
7:30 p.m. Aug. 26: screening of "Zaytoun" (2012), White Hall 208, a road movie set in 1982, centering on an unlikely pair, a Palestinian teenage refugee (Abdallah El Akal) and an Israeli Air Force pilot (Atlanta-born Stephen Dorff).
4 p.m. Aug. 30: "Syrian Bride" screening, White Hall 208, about a dutiful Druse daughter living in the Golan Heights who prepares to marry a Syrian soap opera star across the border, a commitment that means she can never return home.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 1: lecture on “Israeli Cinema: The Way We Were,” Woodruff Library, Jones Room, a look at how this multicultural society was reflected in early Israeli cinema.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 2: "Lemon Tree" screening, White Hall 208, about an Israeli defense minster who moves in and demands that the lemon grove next door be destroyed for security reasons.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 8: lecture on “Israeli Cinema: Forging an Identity,” Woodruff Library, Jones Room, on if a coherent voice can emerge from the merger of different cultures, religions, histories and politics.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 1o: lecture, “Of Conflict and Optimism: My Personal Cinematic Voyage,’” Michael C. Carlos Museum Reception Hall, on Middle East conflict as reflected through the prism of Riklis' films.
Screenings will include an introduction by Riklis, along with a post-screening discussion with the director. Each lecture will be followed by a reception.
More information: arts.emory.edu.