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Tuesday, August 6 – 7:30pm
The Unorthodox
Drama (Israel, 2018) 1 hr. 39 mins.
Directed by Eliran Malka  Hebrew and Yiddish
Starring Shuli Rand, star of the classic Israeli film Ushpizin

Jerusalem International Film Festival, Opening Night
Second most-viewed Israeli film in 2018

Directed by the creator of the immensely popular Israeli TV show Shababnikim, the hip television series about ne’er-do-well yeshiva students, The Unorthodox is a fictionalized account of the creation of Israel’s controversial religious Shas political party that several similarities with the TV series, including an electrifying rock soundtrack that propels this lively, genre-bending, funny but serious tale of politics and human drama.

Tired of being pushed around, a disenfranchised Sephardic father launches an improvised campaign to establish influence in 1980s Israeli society. A Jerusalem widower with no money or connections, everyman Yaakov Cohen (the impressive Shuli Rand) is incited to act when his daughter is expelled from a prestigious religious school because of her ethnicity. Fueled by only willpower and a raging sense of inequity, Yaakov and his friends unite to form the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party. A nascent challenge to the ruling Ashkenazi establishment, the grassroots movement sets off one of the most strange, surprising and transformative elections Israel has ever had. Based on actual events, Eliran Malka’s accomplished feature debut is animated with suspense, humor and a terrific soundtrack, relating a tale of underdog activism and dirty politics that reshaped Israel and continues to reverberate today. An exploration of how an organic community became an organized political movement and how Israel’s Sephardim came into their won politicially.