Sharing Jewish and Israeli culture with D.C.

Avalon Theatre hosts Israeli film nights on fourth Wednesday of every month

MARCH 27, 2011

Marlena Chertock

Avalon Theatre in D.C. hosts Reel Israel DC, where Israeli films are shown. "The Matchmaker" was shown on March 23. Photo courtesy of soundonsight.org.

D.C. and Maryland residents can get a taste of Israeli culture through film by attending the Avalon Theatre’s Israeli film nights.

Every fourth Wednesday of the month, the Avalon Theatre in D.C. hosts a screening of an Israeli film. The events are called Reel Israel DC.

The theatre opened in 1923 and became a non-profit theatre in 2003. Avalon Theatre hosts several film events, shows documentaries and foreign films and has programs such as Senior Cinema Thursdays.

The Matchmaker” was shown as part of Reel Israel DC on Wednesday, March 23 to a mostly filled audience. See the trailer here.

Before the film began, the Director of Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of Israel to the United States Sarit Arbell spoke about the recent violence in Israel. On Wednesday, March 23 there was a suitcase bomb that detonated near a bus station in Jerusalem. The bomb killed one 60-year-old woman and injured several others. There were also rockets fired into several Israeli cities. Arbell said thinking about Israel amidst the violence is important. Watching an Israeli movie is one way to keep Israel “on our minds,” she said.

“The Matchmaker” is in Hebrew with English subtitles. It is a 2010 film by Avi Nesher that tells a romantic story and coming-of-age tale.

In the film, Yankele Bride is a matchmaker of sorts. He walks around parks seeking out women without wedding rings.

“That’s a very nice dress,” he’ll say, “where did your husband buy it?”

“I don’t have a husband,” the women will always reply.

Then Bride pulls out a business card and explains his occupation. “Maybe I can help,” he says. “I’m a matchmaker. I’ll find you love.”

Arik, a teenage boy growing up in Haifa, Israel gets caught up in Bride’s world when Bride offers him a job. Arik acts as a detective, watching people to see if they are truly looking for love when they come to Bride.

The film tries to dig deeper than most Hollywood movies. The actors address topics of happiness, war, the Holocaust, survival, love versus a quick hookup, appearance and friendships between diverse age groups.

The next film in the program is “Five Hours from Paris” and will be shown at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Avalon Theatre at 202-966-6000.

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About Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock's first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, and WTOP. Her poems and fiction has appeared in The Deaf Poets Society, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts.

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