Cannes Film Festival judges honored two Israeli filmmakers with a Critics’ Week award and the Cinéfondation student film competition honor at this year’s movie event.
While Or Sinai, a graduate of the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem, and Asaph Polonsky, who was born in the US but raised in Israel, didn’t win the festival’s biggest prizes, they nonetheless pocketed rave reviews for their works.
Polonsky’s debut feature-film One Week and a Day tells the story of a husband (played by Shai Avivi) and wife (played by Evgenia Dodina) and the different ways of coping with the death of their 25-year-old son. While the wife returns to her routine, the husband gets high with a young neighbor and sets out to discover that there are still things in his life worth living for.
IndieWire included writer-director Polonsky’s Critics’ Week winning film on its memo to distributors of films to buy from the Cannes festival.
The film was indeed picked up by Oscilloscope Laboratories.
“One Week and a Day is that unassuming gem, the black sheep of the Cannes lineup, that just sticks with you and makes you realize that a film doesn’t need to be three hours long and can also feel comfortable making you laugh, and yet it still fits into the slate of the most prestigious film festival in the world. Asaph is an incredible talent and this is just the start of what will surely be a long and accomplished career,” said Oscilloscope’s Dan Berger.
One Week and a Day won a standing ovation at its official screening at Cannes and won the GAN Foundation Award as well as a $22,000 cash prize.
Interestingly, Israeli actress Dodina plays the title role in Sinai’s short film, Anna, as well. In this film, she plays a divorced mother who finds herself desperate for human touch.
Sinai’s 24-minute student film won the Cinéfondation award and a $16,800 cash prize. The win ensures that her first full-length film will be screened at a future Cannes festival.