Cinematheque and chill

Cinematheque and chill

This still is from the 1987 film “Late Summer Blues.”
This still is from the 1987 film “Late Summer Blues.”

Sure, you can celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary with fireworks and fighter jet flybys — but don’t be surprised when your neighbors complain, ignoring the deep ties forged between the Garden State and the Jewish State over the decades to focus on decibel levels, fire risk, and where did you get those fighter planes anyway?

No, better to channel our celebratory energy into the on-your-couch Israel film festival offered by Jerusalem Cinematheque’s Israeli Film Archive, which is making 75 classic Israeli films available for streaming through May 17.

Fifteen films are free, among them the 1988 film “Due To That War…,” which follows singer-songwriters Yehuda Poliker and Ya’ackov Gilad’s creative journey. It resulted in the duo’s critically acclaimed album “Ashes and Dust,” which focuses on the singers’ relationships with their Holocaust survivor parents .

The 1994 film “Song of the Siren” is among those that will cost you 15 New Israeli Shekels — a bit more than $4 — but in exchange you will get a sweet romantic comedy set in Tel Aviv (and a southern kibbutz) amid the 1991 Gulf War, set to a soundtrack of the greatest hits of 60s and 70s Israeli pop. It also features a notable-in-hindsight appearance by Yair Lapid, then a newspaper columnist dabbling in film, today a former prime minister and leader of Israel’s political opposition.

We could go on film by film — or at least mention how the availability of “Late Summer Blues” means we can finally watch the teen drama set in 1970s whose theater run we just missed when we arrived in Israel in the summer of 1988 — but who has time? There are movies to watch!

So, thanks to the Cinematheque for clearing the rights, if only for this limited time. And thanks to the noted playwright and theater critic Theodor Herzl, for making this whole party possible.

You can find the films at


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