Zero Motivation (2014)
Zero Motivation (2014)

14 must-see Israeli movies

Israeli cinema is at its prime, so if you haven't seen these movies yet, you're really missing out

Written by
Time Out Israel Writers
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Movie buffs listen up: these Israeli films have garnered serious acclaim locally and abroad on the international film festival circuit. Many of them have achieved cult-like status - and since Netflix is now bubbling with Israeli films, you can enjoy most of them, even if you don’t speak a lick of Hebrew. And If awards is what you're after for when searching for the next film to watch, check out these Israeli films that have won Oscar nominations. 

Israeli films not to be missed

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

This powerful, animated documentary follows Israeli Ari Folman (who also directed the film) in search of his memories as a 19-year-old IDF soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War. It’s the first animated film to be nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. 

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014)

This film, the third in a trilogy by celebrated  brother/sister duo, Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz, is about an unhappily married woman, Viviane Amsalem, and focuses on how difficult it can be for Jewish women to obtain a gett (divorce papers) from the religious court in Israel - resulting in a host of trials and tribulations. Gett was selected as the Israeli entry for the Academy Awards in 2014, but was not nominated, however it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.

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Zero Motivation (2014)

This film received much commercial and critical success – including the award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival and 12 Ophir Award nominations. It hilariously depicts female soldiers stationed at a remote army base, and is even set to be adapted for American TV by SNL alum Amy Poehler.

The Band's Visit (2007)

An Egyptian musicians arrive by mistake to Beit Hatikva (a small town in Israel's Negev Desert). With no transportation out of the town the band settles at a restaurant owned by Dina (Ronit Elkabetz).

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Yossi & Jagger (2002)

A love story between two Israeli soldiers at the Israel–Lebanon border.

Walk On Water (2004)

An Israeli Mossad agent is given the mission to track down and kill an ex-Nazi officer who might still be alive, while experiencing a love triangle between two german siblings.

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Foxtrot (2017)

Foxtrot is a raw, beautiful and somewhat controversial glimpse into a bereaved family as they mourn the loss of their son (a soldier who died in the line of duty), had rightfully made it onto the 2018 Best Foreign Language Film short list, giving Israel hope for their first Oscar in this category; however, Samuel Maoz's emotive film just missed the nomination despite expectations from both Israel and abroad.

Mr. Gaga (2015)

After years of convincing, famed Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin (who trained Natalie Portman for her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan) finally allowed cameras to document his unique talent – over a whopping eight years. Mr. Gaga follows Naharin as he travels to Japan, Holland, Sweden and Israel to work with dancers. The film takes its name from the dance technique Naharin created, and covers his personal and professional life. Mr. Gaga was nominated for awards in film festivals spanning Amsterdam to Seattle. 

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Broken Wings (2002)

Broken Wings is an emotional chronology of a family torn apart by the sudden death of their patriarch. Each character struggles to come to terms with the tragedy while shifting their relationships with the other family members. The film was recognized at, among others, the Berlin International Film Festival, the Jerusalem Film Festival, and won numerous awards at the Awards of the Israeli Film Academy.

Late Marriage (2001)

Another masterpiece with talented actor Louie Ashkenazi who portrays a 31-year-old bachelor who wants to stay single. His traditional Georgian-Jewish family join forces to choose a young bride for him, with the stipulation that she must be a virgin. 

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