Sticking to his mandate of half dozen or so film festival films per year purchases, Adopt Films’ Jeff Lipsky is following up his latest pick-up of The Priest’s Children with the North American distrib rights pick-up of Venice Days award-winner Bethlehem. Yuval Adler’s fall film fest traveled Telluride-Venice-TIFF item will be slated for late winter of next year.
Gist: Co-written by Yuval Adler and journalist Ali Waked, this tells the story of the unlikely bond between Razi, an Israeli secret service officer, and his Palestinian informant Sanfur. Sanfur is the younger brother of a senior Palestinian militant. Razi recruited him when he was just 15, and developed a very close, almost fatherly relationship to him. Now 17, Sanfur tries to navigate between Razi’s demands and his loyalty to his brother, living a double life and lying to both. When the Israeli secret service discovers how deeply involved Sanfur is in his brother’s activities, Razi is faced with an impossible dilemma.
Worth Noting: This was nominated last month for 12 Israeli Ophir Awards (Academy Awards) – they take place this week.
Do We Care?: Among the items that were on our radar for Toronto, reviews have been mixed with Variety mentioning that the combined “forces and their own intimate knowledge of the contempo Arab-Israeli conflict to impressive effect in “Bethlehem,” a tightly wound clock-ticking thriller,” while THR calling it “modestly gripping but thumpingly earnest affair that lacks the stylistic originality or emotional depth of other recent crossover films addressing this rich subject.”