Avi Nesher’s ‘The Other Story’ will open the Haifa Film Festival

Avi Nesher’s new film, The Other Story, will be the opening-night movie at the 34th Haifa International Film Festival, which will run from September 22 to October 1.

The artistic director of the festival, Pnina Blayer, said, “I am excited to open the 34th Haifa Film Festival with the new film by one of the most important film directors in Israel, Avi Nesher. The Other Story portrays, with a sensitive and loving touch, characters coping with the pain of being in a dysfunctional family, and how this family handles the religious repentance of its daughter. It is a moving, human drama that mirrors the complex Israeli social reality in its darkest corners.

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“Avi Nesher’s previous film, Past Life, closed our festival two years ago in a screening that was followed by tumultuous applause. Leon Edery, of blessed memory [one of the producers of Past Life and The Other Story], stood on the stage then, excited along with us. The opening-night screening will be dedicated to the memory of Leon Edery and his contribution to Israeli cinema.”

Leon Edery, who ran United King Features with his brother, Moshe, died last spring. Edery produced nearly 100 Israeli films, among them Footnote, Lebanon, Walk on Water and Big Bad Wolves.

The Other Story will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September, where it will be one of five films whose directors participate in the Contemporary World Speakers series.

This will be the first time that in more than a decade that an Israeli movie has opened the

Co-written by the psychologist Dr. Noam Shpancer and based on true events, The Other Story is about Yonatan (Yuval Segal), who left Israel decades ago and has been working as a psychologist in the US. When his daughter (Joy Rieger), who has become ultra-Orthodox, gets engaged to her boyfriend (Nathan Goshen), a former drug user and musician who has also repented, his ex-wife (Maya Dagan) asks him to come back to Israel to talk her out of the marriage. Yonatan tries to reconnect with his daughter by getting her interested in a custody battle her grandfather, Shlomo (Sasson Gabai), also a psychologist, is involved in, where a man suspects his wife has joined a pagan cult that threatens their young son’s life. Set in Jerusalem, its focus on repentance and cults evokes the atmosphere and history of the city.

The Other Story is the 21st film directed by Nesher, whose debut movie, the Israeli cult classic The Troupe (Halahaka) was released 40 years ago. The Other Story will be released throughout Israel on October 25.

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The Haifa International Film Festival will feature over 150 movies from all over the world. The full program will be announced over the next few weeks. For more information, go to the festival website at www.haifaff.co.il.