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Israel Academy Picks ‘Bethlehem’ as Ophir Winner and Foreign Oscar Contender

Israel Academy Picks 'Bethlehem' as Ophir Winner and Foreign Oscar Contender

The Israeli Academy has voted “Bethlehem,” from rookie feature director Yuval Adler, its official entry to the foreign language Oscar, reports Yair Raveh. That’s because it won six Ophir Awards Saturday (Picture, Directing, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Casting). It had earned 12 nominations. Its rival “Big Bad Wolves” took five Ophir awards: Cinematography, Score, Sound Design, Production Design, Make-Up.

“Bethlehem” has been a hit on the festival circuit; it won the Venice Film Festival Fedeora Award for Best Film; Indiewire reviewed it in Telluride; Adopt Films acquired U.S. rights out of Toronto. 

Here’s the synopsis per Adopt Films, which compares the suspense film to “Argo”: 

Taking place largely in Jerusalem and the West Bank, “Bethlehem” is a nail-biting thriller about Razi, an Israeli Secret Service (shin bet ) officer and Sanfur, his teenage Palestinian informant, the younger brother of a highly wanted Palestinian militant.  Razi, determined to capture or assassinate Ibrahim, recruited Sanfur when he was just 15, investing all his energy in the kid and developing a very intimate, almost fatherly relationship with him. Sanfur, struggles to navigate between Razi’s demands and his loyalty to his brother, living a double life and lying to both.

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