The Unorthodox, the first feature film directed by Eliran Malka, will make its world premiere as the opening film for this year’s 35th edition of the Jerusalem Film Festival on July 26, 2018. The Festival will close with a festive screening of the animated film, Isle of Dogs, by American director Wes Anderson which earlier this year opened the 2018 Berlin Film Festival.
Synopsis: When Yakov Cohen’s daughter is expelled from school for ethnic reasons, he decides to fight back. It’s 1983 and Yakov, a printer in Jerusalem, is just a regular guy. He has no knowledge, no money, no connections and no political experience. But he does have the will and the passion to take action, and a belief that he and and other Sephardic Jews should be able to hold their heads up high. Yakov brings two friends along and together they start the first ethnic political group in Jerusalem, with an operation characteristic of the people they represent: not the suit-wearing types, but rather the people working their way up from the bottom. Their operation is informal, full of love for their fellow man, animated by a great sense of humor and a whole lot of rage.
They didn’t know how to play the political game, so they made it all up as they went along – setting off on one of the oddest, most surprising and moving election campaigns Israel has ever known. Today, the Sfarad’s Guardians political party – known as “Shas” – is an empire, an institution and a brand influencing an entire society. Yakov Cohen still works at his printing house at the Bukharan Quarter in the heart of Jerusalem city.
The Unorthodox is the first feature film directed by Eliran Malka, best known as the creator of the hit Israeli TV series Shababnikim.
Inspired by the unique formation story of Israel’s Shas political party, which created a movement for Israel’s disenfranchised Sephardic community, the film is a comic drama about events that reshaped Israeli society and continue to resonate today.
The Unorthodox also marks a return to the screen for lead actor Shuli Rand, who endeared himself to audiences in films such as Ushipizin by Gidi Dar, Marco Polo: The Missing Chapter by Rafi Bukai, and Life According to Agfa by Assi Dayan. In The Unorthodox Shuli Rand plays the lead role of Ya’akov Cohen, a man who, in wanting a small change, transformed an entire country.
Director Eliran Malka is best known for the award winning Israeli television series Shababnikim, a humorous dive into the lives of four Jerusalem yeshiva students. Shababnikim was the top rated show on Israel’s HOT network last year, beating out imports such as Game Of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale. Malka studied at the Ma’aleh Film School in Jerusalem and also previously directed the short film 71 Square Meters.
ISLE OF DOGS
Wes Anderson’s new film transports us to Japan to tell the story of Atari, the nephew of a corrupt mayor. When the mayor banishes all dogs from the city of Megasaki, Atari highjacks a plane to Trash Island to find his pet. Joined by a pack of courageous canines, he embarks on a journey that will determine the fate of the region.
Through a long line of films including, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has established himself as one of the most esteemed and original filmmakers in the world. In Isle of Dogs, his second animated film, he creates a lush and exciting world, and continues to develop his unique cinematic language.