Filmgoers can enjoy an Island-relevant documentary and an Israeli romantic comedy at the Island’s summer film series this coming week. Playing Sunday, July 31, at the Hebrew Center’s Summer Institute is “Five Hours from Paris,” a quiet, charming tale of the complicated romance between a Tel Aviv taxi driver and his son’s music teacher.
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society will present a sneak preview of the documentary “Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle,” about the wind power project planned for Nantucket Sound, on Tuesday, August 2. Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival will not have a screening on Wednesday, August 3, because it is the evening of the annual Chilmark Fireman’s Community Barbecue and Music Festival at the Chilmark Community Center.
“Five Hours from Paris”
Russian director Leonid Prudovsky’s comedy, “Five Hours from Paris,” opens with a scene between Tel Aviv taxi driver Yigal (Dror Keren) and the therapist helping him to overcome his fear of flying. He desperately wants to conquer this phobia because his ex-wife has planned a bar mitzvah for their son in Paris.
Yigal rushes off in mid-session to a conference with his son Assaf’s music teacher, Lina (Elena Yaralova). Smitten by her, Yigal distractedly leaves his keys in the classroom, forcing Lina to miss her bus home.
After Yigal offers her a ride, the two sing along with the radio. That’s the director’s way of signaling the growing attraction between the two, despite the fact that Lina is married and assumes Yigal is, too.
The members of Yigal’s fractured family still live together, along with the ex-wife’s boyfriend, Gershon. Yigal volunteers to take Assaf to his tennis lessons, which means picking him up after school outside Lina’s classroom.
Yigal seizes the opportunity to give Lina a CD of the Joe Dassin Moroccan music they had listened to together on the radio. Next he persuades her to come with him on an exposure-therapy flying excursion with his therapist. Afterwards, they end up drinking champagne at her apartment to celebrate his successful plane trip. One diminutive scene like this one follows another, until a context for these two tentative lovers gradually builds up.
Lina’s husband comes back to Tel Aviv from Russia, where he’s trying to pass his medical licensure exams. The same businessman customer stiffs Yigal for his fare twice with the claim that he’ll go get some shekels from his wife.
“Five Hours from Paris” presents its plot points in miniature. Will Lina return to Russia with her husband? Will Yigal go to Paris for his son’s bar mitzvah? Will the romance survive? Nothing earthshaking is in the offing, but the film’s pleasures come one by one in the details.
The M.V. Film Society offers the public a chance to see the as-yet unfinished documentary, “Cape Spin: The Fight for the Future of Power in America,” on Tuesday, August 2 at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. The film’s subject is the project to build 130 wind turbines standing 440 feet tall on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, which has generated controversy from its onset.
Cape Wind, the wind farm proposed by entrepreneur Jim Gordon, would be the nation’s first such offshore project. Public figures such as Walter Cronkite and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. turn up on unexpected sides of the issue.
A veteran of the “Nova” TV series, writer/director Robbie Gemmel shows how deceptively complex the question is of whether the turbines should be built off the shores of some of the nation’s most revered vacation spots.
Is the wind farm a viable answer to the nation’s energy problems? Would it, in fact, deliver green, clean power at a cheaper rate than coal or oil? Is the intent good, but the location inappropriate? What do environmental groups like Greenpeace have to say?
“Cape Spin” takes a close look at both sides of the controversy, wading through the smokescreens and obfuscations in search of a clearer view. Mr. Gemmel will attend the screening for a post-film panel discussion, along with WCAI correspondent Sean Corcoran, Paul Pimentel of Vineyard Power, the Island’s energy cooperative, and others.
“Five Hours from Paris,” Sunday, July 31, 7:30 pm, MV Hebrew Center, Vineyard Haven. $10 suggested. For more information, visit mvsummerinstitute.com.
“Cape Spin: The Fight for the Future of Power in America,” Tuesday, August 2, 8 pm, Union Chapel, Oak Bluffs. $10; $7 MVFS members. Doors open at 7:15 pm. For more information, visit mvfilmsociety.com.
Brooks Robards, a frequent contributor to The Times, divides her time between Oak Bluffs and Northampton.