One of the most captivating New York premieres at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which ended yesterday, was Strangers, a powerful film about a chance romance between an Israeli man and a Palestinian woman who meet on a subway in Berlin. Their relationship is rocked not only by their jarring cultural differences, but by the disturbing events of the 2006 war in Lebanon, scenes of which are incorporated into the film.
Despite the fact that New York, like Los Angeles and Miami, has an entire festival devoted to films from Israel, Tribeca has been a major showcase for such Israeli films as The Bubble, Encounter Point, Yossi & Jagger and Ushpizin. Also screened at Tribeca this year was a short film called Roads, about the relationship between a traumatized Israeli ex-soldier and a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who works for a drug dealer.
After Sunday Levo spoke to the enthusiastic audience about how the film, which was nominated for best world drama at the Sundance Film Festival in January, came together and was put together. He said he was asked if he would be interested in the role just two weeks before filming began. Very few of the lines were scripted, and filming of scenes in the Berlin and Paris subways, and at the World Cup finals, was done surreptitiously, without going through official channels.
Levo said the movie, which was screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival and arrives at theaters in Israel on May 29, will apparently be shown this summer at the Ramallah Film Festival, in the West Bank. It will be interesting to see if it is as popular there as it was here.