A Tale of Love and Darkness — Natalie Portman’s feature film directorial debut — will open the sixth annual Axelrod Israel Film Festival on Sunday, July 31, at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal.
The film, starring Portman, who also wrote the screenplay, is based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s international autobiographical best-seller about growing up in Jerusalem before the establishment of the State of Israel.
The festival, which runs through Aug. 8, features eight award-winning films from Israel and the United States.
Michael Solomonov, James Beard Award-winning chef of the famed Philadelphia restaurant Zahav, serves as guide in Roger Sherman’s documentary In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a portrait of the Israeli people told through its eclectic food. Solomonov will be at a screening on Monday, Aug. 1, to sign his new book Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking and will host an Israeli food tasting and reception.
Other films in the festival include
• Rabin: The Last Day, Amos Gitai’s provocative film about the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
• Phoenix, a spellbinding mystery of identity about a German-Jewish nightclub singer who was disfigured by a bullet in a Nazi death camp and who undergoes reconstructive surgery to emerge with a new face.
• Dough, starring Jonathan Price as the curmudgeonly widower running an understaffed, mostly unsuccessful kosher bakery in London.
• Remember, starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau as fellow Auschwitz survivors, now in their 90s, who embark on a cross-country odyssey to find the former Nazi responsible for ruining their lives and destroying their families.
• Restoration, winner of Sundance and Jewish Film Festival awards and nominated for 11 Israeli Ophir Awards, the story of a triangle of love and fatherhood ties.
• Rock in the Red Zone, a powerful exploration into the lives of musicians struggling to create art on the edge of the war-torn city of Sderot, once known for its revolutionary rock scene.
In addition to APAC, the films will also be shown at the Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County in Freehold and the Monroe Senior Center and will be screened multiple times during the festival. Individual tickets are $10. A series pass for all eight films plus a reception cost $54. The Gold Series pass, which includes the Israeli food-tasting reception with chef Solomonov and a signed copy of his cookbook, costs $72.
For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets or series passes, visit axelrodartscenter.com.