Saturday, July 08, 2006

Jerusalem Film Festival

I couldn't get tickets for the opening night at the beautiful outdoor venue of Sultan's Pool, next to the walls of the Old City, but that never fazes me. First of all, it has been my tradition for years to stand at one certain gate and ask passerbys if they have extra tickets. They always have extras. Either for free or for sale. Even more exciting for me was the fact that Hubby said he would join me, which is a rarity. I usually do all these things alone or with friends or with daughters. So I wanted this to especially work.

An hour before the show I parked myself in my spot, even getting pessimistic comments from people like "forget about it" when I told them I was trying to get into a sold-out show. I probably even walked up to a few VIPs I didn't know were VIPs, like Atom Egoyan, the director, who was here from Toronto or the Canadian producer whose name I forgot, even Debra Winger whom I didn't recognize until they announced her on stage, asking them for tickets and getting laughed at while commenting - "yeah, for $500 I'll sell it to you." I did an eyeroll for them. Really. This is not a fucking Stones concert.

I felt like one of those Jerusalem Beggars asking for money on the street. I am a yearly Jerusalem Film Festival Opening beggar for sure.

After about 25 minutes, droves of people came in and among them 2 different kindly souls who handed me their extra ticket which I didn't have to pay for. God is kind!!
Especially so, since we are a bit tight on cash, and I was going to blow my last wad on 2 tickets.

The weather was getting cool, and Hubby mocked me for bringing a jacket, as it was unbearably hot during the day. But being a seasoned Opening goer I nearly froze to death 2 years ago when they showed Heroes and swore I'd never go through that again, no matter how hot it gets during the day. I felt bad for Hubby, though. I knew he was going to shiver.

We sat through 1 1/2 hours of a performance by a band called Atlantic, who did shitty covers of the Stones, Animals and other 60's oldies, but did wonderful on popular Israeli songs. And the speeches were short but plentiful. This director, that producer, this politician, that politician, etc. And I was surprised to see Jeff Goldblum there, looking quite handsome.

"We could eat sushi with him at the after-party" I told Hubby. I was successful last year in standing by the gates of the party after the movie asking for extra invites. One person handed me two. I could swing it this year. But as the weather got colder, I figured none of us will want to eat sushi with Debra Winger and Jeff Goldblum. I pitied her looking at how she was dressed with a sleeveless, summery top. Had no one warned her about the chilly Jerusalem evenings either?

The movie shown was the first Israeli film to be shown on opening night. Someone to Run With. I had no idea what it was about, but if it had subtitles, Hubby can follow along. Turned out we both thoroughly enjoyed the movie about Jerusalem's wayward youth, with a good plot to boot. I even recognized a few of the extras as downtown regulars who hang out.

Halfway through the movie Hubby was too cold to sit and went up the stairs for a hot beverage and to walk around to warm up.

The next day a friend of mine and I saw another movie from the Festival called Ticket to Heaven - an old one (1981) about Moonies and how they deprogrammed this guy who got sucked into the cult.

People seem to be so forthcoming and happy during festival week. And everyone chatted with everyone on line at the ticket counter when I wanted to exchange some tickets for other movies.

I saw someone I knew at the Cinemateque's coffee shop who handed me 2 free tickets to see a new Gypsy movie just added to the list of 300 films being shown during the Festival. She knew I was associated with the Gypsies here in Jerusalem. I was so happy to get another gift.

While my friend rushed in to see another movie where we were offered, yet again, free entrance (to fill up empty seats), I headed back home to reality - Shabbat was coming and someone needs to feed the family.

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