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Israeli Cancer Comedy Wins Cannes Prize

Two Israeli filmmakers took home prizes at the Cannes Film Festival this week. Or Sinai, a graduate of the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem, and Asaph Polonsky, who was born in the U.S. but raised in Israel, pocketed rave reviews for their works.

Polonsky’s debut film, One Week and a Day, tells the story of a husband (played by Shai Avivi) and wife (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. It won the Critics’ Week Award, and was picked up by the studio 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 received a standing ovation at its official screening at Cannes, and also won the GAN Foundation Award and a $22,000 cash prize.

Dodina also starred in the title role of Sinai’s short film, Anna, playing 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.

[Photo: Israel21c ]