The 12th Annual Louisville Jewish Film Festival is back with nine offerings that should satisfy the tastes of everyone in the community. From the intellectual to the playful and from the touching to stirring tales of heroism, this year’s films promise to be just as satisfying as those shown in the past.
The festival is sponsored in part by the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Rosa Gladstein Fund and the Louis Levy Film and Theatre Arts Fund.
Films will be shown at the Village 8 Theatres, and tickets for each show cost $8.50 in advance and $10 at the door unless otherwise noted. Student tickets are available for $6.
For My Father, Saturday, February 13, 7:30 p.m., tells the tale of Terek, a Palestinian forced on a suicide mission who is given a second chance. When ordered to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv, he falls in love with an Israeli girl who is estranged from her Orthodox family.
On Sunday, February 14, 3:30 p.m., attorney Alan Dershowitz makes a vigorous defense for Israel in the film The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost. He affirms Israel’s basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism, and to secure its borders. The film includes archival footage and interviews with experts in the field.
Nominated for 13 Israeli Academy Awards, A Matter of Size, will debut on Sunday, February 14, 7:30 p.m. This hilariously poignant comedy is part sports drama and part love story in which overweight men interested in sumo wrestling pursue their goal and learn to accept themselves as they are.
Saviors in the Night, based on the memoir of 97-year-old Marga Spiegel, will be shown on Monday, February 15, at 7 p.m. This fast-paced film tells the story of how Menne Spiegel, a German Jewish peasant, escapes the final transport of Jews to the East and sends his wife and daughter to hide on the farm of a friend. In many ways, this film focuses more on the German family that enables them to survive. A final scene shows the real-life Marga and her daughter, Anni, visiting the set.
The University of Louisville will sponsor the film Unsettled in the Chao Auditorium at the university’s Ekstrom Library on Tuesday, February 16, at 7 p.m. This free showing of the film tells the story of the Israeli government’s plans to withdraw from the Gaza strip in the summer of 2005. The eviction meant the uprooting of thousands of Israeli citizens, including three young lifeguards who were forced to leave their beach home forever.
Winner of the Best Feature Award at the 2009 Jerusalem Film Festival, Ajami will be shown on Thursday, February 18, at 7 p.m. The film tells the story of a poor, crime-ridden neighborhood in Jaffa where Muslims, Jews and Christians live an impossibly fragile co-existence. The interlocking stories of its characters collide with devastating effect.
Lemon Tree, Saturday, February 20, at 7:30 p.m., was nominated for seven Israeli Academy Awards. The story tells about a Palestinian widow who finds her beloved lemon grove threatened by a stubborn Israeli defense minister who moves next door and declares the trees a security threat.
On Sunday, February 21, at 1 p.m., the delightful family film, Max Minsky and Me, will focus on the story of a brainy German girl who wants to become a basketball star. Her mother, however, wants her to study for her bat mitzvah. An unlikely alliance develops between her and the popular and athletic Max in this coming of age film for all ages.
The festival will end with a flourish at the Frazier International History Museum’s World War II Exhibit on Sunday, February 21. View the exhibit from 5:30-7 p.m., then enjoy the film at 7. Blessed is the Match tells the story of Hannah Senesh, a Hungarian writer who parachuted into Germany with a group of Israeli resistance fighters. The film, compiled from her diary and letters, includes a reenactment and contemporary footage. Cost for the evening is $18, which covers the exhibit, film and dessert reception to follow.
Further information about the festival is available online or call 459-0660 for details.
Angeline Golden chairs the Film Festival Committee and Marsha Bornstein is Festival Director.