The Jewish Community Center’s Jewish Film Festival is back for its 14th year and features its largest collection of films ever. This year, there is an emphasis on comedy and family-friendly films. The festival will offer audiences an understanding of the complexity, richness and depth of Jewish culture.
The festival kicks off with a dual screening of “The Constant Fire,” a 10-minute short about an Israeli woman and her American-born husband’s disagreement about leaving Haifa at the start of the 2006 Lebanon War. Filmmaker Stuart Weinstock will attend the opening and discuss the short.
The kick-off will also include the full-length film The Human Resource Manager. Winner of five Israeli Academy Awards, this film follows a human resource manager as he attempts to return the remains of a Romanian woman to her family after she was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem.
Congregation Adath Jeshurun will host the opening night event Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 and include a dessert reception.
Tickets for all other films are $8.50 in advance, $10 at the door and $6 for students and will be shown at the Village 8 Theaters unless otherwise stated. Series passes, buy 6 tickets and get one free, are also available. Other films include:
• Nicky’s Family, a Best Documentary Award Winner at the Montreal World Film Festival, will be shown on Sunday, February 12, at 3 p.m. It tells the story of how a British stockbroker rescued 669 Jewish children from Hitler.
• Restoration explores what an old-fashioned wood restorer does when his business partner of 40 years dies suddenly and he finds his shop is on the verge of bankruptcy. This winner of the Best Film award from the Israeli Academy Awards will be shown on Wednesday, February 15, at 7 p.m.
• As Hitler’s offensive against the Jews began to take shape, Berlin hosted the 1936 Olympic games. Berlin 36 delves into the true story of Jewish high jumper Gretel Bergmann. The film will be shown Thursday, February 16, at 7 p.m.
• The hilarious comedy, This is Sodom, will be shown on Saturday, February 18, at 7:30 p.m. This Monty Python-style comedy, which was a blockbuster when it opened in Israel, tells the story of Lot and other citizens of Sodom trying to resist the temptations of gambling, sex and corruption.
• Can a washed-up former pro baseball player with a drunk driving conviction create a team out of a bunch of desperate Orthodox rabbinical students and lead The Yankles to victory? Check it out on Sunday, February 19, at 3 p.m.
• As the Film Festival has done in the past, a pair of short movies from the Ma’ale School of Television Film and the Arts in Jerusalem: “The Orthodox Way” and “New Year’s Resolution,” will be shown at The Temple in the Waller Chapel. This event, on Monday, February 20, at 7 p.m. is free.
The first film is a romantic comedy about dating the Orthodox way; and the second is about a 38-year-old single woman who announces to her Orthodox family that she plans to have a child by artificial insemination. A discussion and reception will follow. This event is sponsored by The Temple Brotherhood.
• Eichmann’s End, which presents the story of how notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann was discovered and captured in Argentina, will be shown on Tuesday, February 21, at 7 p.m.
• Based on a true story, Dolphin Boy tells the story of a Arab Israeli who is beaten and left unable to speak. His therapist recommends “dolphin therapy,” where he swims with dolphins in order to learn to communicate again. Dolphin Boy will be screened on Wednesday, February 22, at 7 p.m.
• The Film Festival returns to Adath Jeshurun for a double-feature closing event. In Lenin in October, Grisha inherits money from his rich Russian uncle to open the restaurant of his dreams with one stipulation: it must be dedicated to the sacred values of Communism. His search for a statue of Lenin has hilarious results.
Half a Ton of Bronze looks at the efforts of legendary Zionist Alexander Zaid’s grandson’s efforts to recover the stolen equestrian statue of his grandfather. Tickets are $15. A reception will follow, and a Vaad approved option is available upon advance request.
To purchase tickets, call the JCC at 459-0660. A complete schedule, film descriptions and trailers are also online.
[by Ben Goldenberg]