I pride myself on being decently knowledgeable about world cinema. However, when it comes to Jewish cinema the first things that come to mind are thoroughly American comedians like Mel Brooks and, my personal favorite, Woody Allen. The point being, my knowledge is lacking, which is why I’m excited to expand my awareness of the subject with the help of the 14th annual Jewish Film Festival.
The festival opens this Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 at the Adath Jeshurun Synagogue with a double feature: first is the short film “The Constant Fire,” which is about a couple’s disagreement as to whether to leave Haifa at the start of the Lebanon War in 2006. Following this is the feature-length film “The Human Resource Manager,” in which a man must return the remains of a woman to her family after she is killed in a suicide bombing. Tickets for the opening event are $20.
The festival continues until Saturday, February 25, with most films being shown at Village 8 Theater, while a few will be shown at the Adath Jeshurun Synagogue and The Temple. The focus this year is on comedy films (such as “This is Sodom” and “The Yankles”) and winners of the Israeli Academy Awards (including “Restoration” and “The Human Resource Manager”).
There will be a couple of panel discussions as well. For example, on Sunday, February 12, there is the free presentation of “Humor as Resistance in Holocaust Cinema” at the Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, in which filmmaker Stuart Weinstock discusses the above subject using examples from films such as Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” and Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece “The Great Dictator.”