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Chicago Israeli Film Festival

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Chicago Israeli Film Festival

The Chicago Israeli Film Festival, a program of contemporary Israeli cinema, runs Saturday through Thursday, January 22 through 27, at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton. Screenings are $7, $5 for Facets members; for more information call 773-281-4114.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 22

Jewish Vendetta

This 1997 movie gets bogged down in elaborate plotting and meaningless logistical details as it tells the story of a man who's made his home in Israel returning to the Russian town where he grew up. There he plans to kill his former best friend, with whom his wife once had an affair. She insists their son accompany him to Russia, allowing him to participate in a highly coincidental subplot. Director Alexander Shabatayev wrote the screenplay with Simeon Vinokur. (LA) (5:00)

There Was No War in '72

A father whose cruelty encourages his teenage son's rebelliousness becomes determined to send the boy to a boarding school, while his wife considers having an affair. This 1996 drama set in Israel might have been moving, but logistics take precedence over theme, with characters often stating what they're about to do or have just done, and stylistic flourishes, such as some slightly showy camera work, are merely incidental. Written and directed by David Kreiner. (LA) (7:00)

Circus Palestina

A rickety Slavic circus pays a brief visit to a West Bank settlement, where its lion escapes, bringing out the comical paranoia in the Israeli army and the xenophobia in the Palestinian villagers. Writer-director Eyal Halfon based this amiable 1998 feature on a real event, intending it as a political parable, but it seldom rises above a morass of platitudes. Gestures and emotions are boldfaced so we can't possibly miss the regrettable antagonism between Jews and Arabs, the biblical significance of the lion's freedom, or the corruptible morals of Israeli soldiers. The film won a multitude of awards from the Israeli Film Academy, probably more for its liberal intentions than for genuine craft. (TS) (9:00)

SUNDAY, JANUARY 23

There Was No War in '72

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (3:00)

Laura Adler's Last Love Affair

An aging actress in the Yiddish theater of the 1930s tours eastern Europe with a new play, pondering her missed opportunities and unfulfilled love life. Though ostensibly basking in her success, Laura is one of the last stars of a fading art, finding emotional refuge only with her maid and the troupe of old-time thespians. The scenes from the play, enlivened by klezmer music, are delightful, and Rita Zohar gives a nuanced performance as the proud but vulnerable relic. But Avram Heffner's literal direction turns this 1990 drama into an old-fashioned women's picture, soporifically paced and heavy on the kvetching. (TS) (5:00)

Circus Palestina

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (7:00)

Jewish Vendetta

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (9:00)

MONDAY, JANUARY 24

There Was No War in '72

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (7:00)

Laura Adler's Last Love Affair

See listing for Sunday, January 23. (9:00)

TUESDAY, JANUARY 25

Jewish Vendetta

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (7:00)

Circus Palestina

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (9:00)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26

Laura Adler's Last Love Affair

See listing for Sunday, January 23. (7:00)

There Was No War in '72

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (9:00)

THURSDAY, JANUARY 27

Circus Palestina

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (7:00)

Jewish Vendetta

See listing for Saturday, January 22. (9:00)

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