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Israeli film series

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Many people know that Hollywood isn't the only place that pumps out great filmmaking. Hong Kong was put on the map by its high-octane action movies and directors, and even France has made more and more of a name for itself over the years hosting the popular Cannes film festival. China and France aside, some may be surprised to find that Israel sports its very own film industry.

When most people think of Israel, often the first word that comes to mind isn't "film". "Ethnic conflict", "terrorism" and "war" are probably more commonly associated with that part of the world. An Israeli film series playing at the University of Calgary the next month may change that. Its primary focus is the human element in the religious conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

"[This film series is for] anybody who is interested in public affairs or interested in the human side of things, not even necessarily the political side of things," said Alan Dowty, Kahanoff Professor of Israeli Studies and the host of the film series.

Although war and terrorism are interesting topics, the films only use war and conflict as the backdrop for deeply emotional tales of love, loss, and regret.

The first film shown, Crossfire, was a high-tension true story of two star-crossed lovers during the final days of the British mandate over Palestine in 1947. Despite being a true story, Crossfire resembled William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Except, instead of Montagues and Capulets, there are Israelis and Arabs--as well as guns, tanks and underground fundamentalist groups.

The last two films in the series play on Oct. 12 and 19 in Murray Fraser Hall room 164 at 7 p.m. Professor Dowty encourages anyone with an interest in either film or politics to attend.

"We're trying to show some of the more sensitive portrayals that have been made of this conflict, but at the same time, they're just good films."

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