Naama Barak
July 9, 2023, Updated August 16, 2023

The Jerusalem Film Festival is set to take off for the 40th time on July 13 at the majestic Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem, this year opening with a biopic on none other than former Israeli premier Golda Meir.

The annual event was established back in 1984 by Lia Van Leer, the first director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, where the festival also takes place, and has since become the highlight of the Israeli film industry calendar.

This year, the festival will run through July 23, and like previous years will showcase over 200 critically acclaimed and new films from dozens of countries.

Jerusalem Film Festival opens with biopic on Golda Meir
Audience at Sultan’s Pool, Jerusalem Photo by Nir Shaanani/Jerusalem Film Festival

The festival is also set to include panels with Israeli and foreign filmmakers, film contests and an array of premieres and parties, both onsite at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and across neighborhoods and movie theaters throughout the city.

The opening film, Golda by Guy Nattiv, tells the story of Israel’s only female prime minister, Golda Meir, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Meir is played by Helen Mirren, while Liev Schreiber depicts US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Israeli actors Rami Heuberger and Lior Ashkenazi portray Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar, respectively.

The film will be screened at the open-air Sultan’s Pool at the foothills of Jerusalem’s Old City to a large crowd on the festival’s opening night. The festival is expected to draw some 70,000 visitors over the course of 10 days.

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