Kosmorama is in Haifa attending the 31 Haifa International Film Festival 2015. Just arriving in the city, just acclimatizing to the middle east, just devouring falafel and hummus, gulping down fruit juice with a pinch of honey and just before we dig into the first day of the film festival a little history lesson for those of you in need: Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third largest city in the country with a population of 600.000 people. Haifa was intended by British planners back in the days to serve as the Levant’s main port and transport hub, linked – thanks to rail lines and an oil pipeline – to a hinterland that encompassed Transjordan and Iraq. That vision came to an abrupt end in 1948, when much of the city’s Arab population were expelled or fled. Today, Haifa’s Jews, Muslims and Christians live side by side, largely in harmony and Haifa city is proud to serve as a model for Jewish-Arab coexistence. Also Haifa has the Baha`i` Gardens where the founder of the Baha`i `faith is buried. There is a saying about the three biggest cities in Israel: Tel- Aviv is for the gay, Jerusalem for the holy and Haifa for the beautiful. (Mind)
This is also something that is very much reflected in the film festival. The festival strives to show, reflect, move and testify trough their 180 film program, a contemporary reality from many corners of the world striving for peace and coexistence. We all know what ability, possibility and freedom to examine a complex reality in both fiction and documentary can do to influence our future in the best possible way for all humankind. That is also why Kosmorama film festival is honoured to be invited to Haifa film festival ´s Lifetime Achievement Award 2015 which goes to Claude Lanzman. Besides being beside ourselves meeting someone who knew simone de Beauvoir (let alone being married to her), and Jean Paul Satre, this is the film director that gave us Shoah, A visitor from the living, the Karski Report and The last of the unjust.
Now, the weather is hot, the coffee is hot but very good to have when Haifa Film festival is no exception to the world of extreme cold cinema theatres. The lights just went down for our first film experience at the 31 Haifa International film festival 2015.