We live in the labyrinth of screens. We mention the protagonists of our favourite TV shows as references: “You’re just like Sheldon!” or “Rachel would do exactly the same…”. The images of our lives sometimes merge into the movie scenes we watched. Reality is slipping into tales and the virtual reality is so real that we are already starting to believe that we are the actual parts of it.
Some think that organizing a film festival in this environment is totally pointless, while by others it is considered the best thing in the world. When Zsifi was launched we only knew that we wanted to screen films because Fiddlers on the Roof was great and it meant the basis of the identity for so many people. Now, after having so many years of experience, this event is a much more conscious film day, a festival of the latest Jewish and Israeli movies. We see year by year that it can give many people the opportunity to strengthen their sense of identity. We see how a film – it does not matter whether it is a feature film or a documentary – is able to open our minds to the unknown parts of the Jewish world. We have been experiencing that the spontaneous talks and debates after the movies in the hall of Művész and Puskin film theatres do not stay in these halls, they are rolling over to the different spaces of our community, to the narrow defined Jewish community and to the agora of the wider, grand society space.
So this way Zsifi has been becoming what it has to be: an open forum: the outdoor representation of the Bálint Ház, where a film is a symbol of ourselves and it is like a mirror, it shows our sometimes ironic, sometimes dramatic and once in a while tragic stories : our presents, our pasts, all the loveable elements of our Jewishness and also that parts we want to hide.
This is who we are. Let’s take a look into the mirror and have a good laugh or a great cry and debate! Zsifi is on, again. Believe your eyes!
Zsuzsa Fritz, festival director
After twenty years of the Israeli Film Week and five years of the Jewish Film Festival of Budapest we are proud to celebrate again the Israeli and Jewish Film the second time together. The two are always better than the one, let’s hope cooperation continues.
This cooperation can stand, among other things, as a symbol of Jewish unity and understanding. Unity doesn’t necessarily mean hegemony or conformism but diversity of opinions and perspectives. Let our richness be our pride.
During this year we are celebrating the 70th jubilee of the state of Israel, homeland to our people, a dream come true. We are celebrating independence, freedom to express ourselves in our ancient homeland. I’m proud this festival is another manifestation of the Jubilee year events.
The birth of Israel Cinematography is yet another expression of sovereignty, nationhood. Through movies, through the cinema experience we get closer to one another, we understand better. I hope that the choice of Israeli movies will bring Israel closer to heart and life in Hungary.
Most of this year’s festival movies are occupied with youth identity crisis and the special role of teachers and parents in their life. Sometimes, through school project of history class un
űexpected secrets can be revealed, pressing family to face those never-talked-through personal impacts that history had left on themselves.
These movies provide us besides the experience of watching and enjoying, an opportunity to rethink our relation to the current narratives of history, family values and ethics, what seems an overarching challenge. I hope the festival will allow us some moments of reflection together with a good laughter.
In bringing the Jewish Israeli film festival we made a deliberate decision to reach out beyond the Budapest metropolitan. It’s our commitment to reach out to cities and communities all over the country with a choice of movies. Our start may be humble but our expectations and wishes are not. I hope that future Festivals will continue this tradition.
I look forward to a great festival, one more chain in the ever growing link of Jewish life.
Let’s meet in the movies!
Ambassador of Israel,