The festival opens Thursday, October 29, at 600 N. Michigan with a 7 PM gala screening of Shiva—The Seven Days. Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz (The Band's Visit, The Girl on the Train) collaborated with her brother Shlomi to write and direct this 2008 drama, set in Israel during the 1991 gulf war, about a large Jewish Moroccan family sitting shiva after one of the children has died. Gala tickets, available only from the festival at 847-675-3378, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the festival Web site (see below), are $36.
Screenings continue Saturday and Sunday, October 31-November 1, at 600 N. Michigan, then move to the Wilmette (1122 Central, Wilmette) from Monday through Sunday, November 2-8; tickets are $10, available at the venues and at fandango.com. Following are some highlights through Thursday, November 5; a complete schedule is available at chicagofestivalofisraelicinema.org.
Lost Islands, a box-office smash in Israel, is Reshef Levy's autobiographical drama about two brothers, opposite in their tastes and abilities, who fall in love with the same woman (Sat 10/31, 6 PM, 600 N. Michigan, and Mon 11/2, 5:30 PM, Wilmette). Directed by Omni Givron, Seven Minutes in Heaven is about a young woman trying to put her life back together after being badly burned and losing her lover in a suicide bombing aboard a Jerusalem bus (Sat 10/31, 8:30 PM, 600 N. Michigan).
Ori Ravid makes his filmmaking debut with Eli & Ben, about a 12-year-old boy whose father, the city architect for their suburban community, is taken into police custody and charged with taking bribes (Sat 10/31, 10:30 PM, 600 N. Michigan). And filmmaker Kathy Rivkin will introduce both screenings of her drama Meltdown, in which a Russian girl who aspires to become a champion ice skater is forced to shelve her dreams when her father announces they're immigrating to Israel (Sun 11/1, 5:30 PM, 600 N. Michigan, and Mon 11/2, 8 PM, Wilmette).