Louisville Jewish Film Fest 2020 — Individual Film Info

Film Descriptions

 

Shoelaces

Directed by Jacob Goldwasser
Drama
Hebrew (with English subtitles)
100 minutes

Shoelaces is a tender family “dramedy” about the complicated relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and his exuberant special-needs son he abandoned when young. When his ex-wife dies, Reuven is suddenly thrust into caring for his now-grown son. The transition is difficult for both, as Reuven wrestles with parenting a child with disabilities, while Gadi grieves the loss of his loving mother.

Nominated for eight Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film.

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Leona

Directed by Isaac Cherem
Mexico, 2018
Drama
Spanish (with English subtitles)
95 minutes

In this intimate and moving film, a young Jewish woman from Mexico City finds herself torn between her family and forbidden love. This story of divide between generations and cultures leads to difficult choices and a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
Contains sexual content and nudity.
Winner for Best Feature and Best Actress Morelia at the International Film Festival.

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The Light of Hope

Directed by Silvia Quer
Drama
Spanish, Catalan, French (with English subtitles)
96 minutes

Based on a true story, a young Red Cross nurse, Elisabeth Eidenbenz, arrives in the south of France, near Spain, in the 1940s to aid hundreds of Jewish refugees suffering from disease and malnutrition. Appalled by the dire conditions facing pregnant women and children, she converts an abandoned villa into a maternity home. When demands are made for her to turn over the Jews, she must make a decision that could endanger everyone.  Eidenbenz has been recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, as Righteous Among the Nations.
Gaudi award for Best Film. 

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Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles

Directed by Max Lewkowicz
Documentary
English
92 minutes

A documentary about how this musical became so beloved against all odds. Hal Prince, Sheldon Harnick, Harvey Fierstein, Danny Burstein Joel Grey, and Lin-Manuel Miranda all make appearances. Rejoice with the “Hamilton” creator singing “To Life” at his wedding reception.

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Carl Laemmle

Writer, producer, director James L. Freedman
Documentary
English
90 minutes

A German-born immigrant who began in the garment trade, Laemmle went on to found Universal Pictures. Producing hundreds of successful movies, he was unafraid to tackle social issues, as with the Oscar-winning anti-war drama All Quiet on the Western Front. A champion of humanitarian causes, Laemmle saved over 300 Jewish families from the Holocaust, sponsoring their immigration to the United States and finding them jobs and homes.

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Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz

Directed by Barry Avrich
Documentary
English
83 minutes

A profile of the diminutive, unsung hero who put Nazis on trial at Nuremberg. Born in Transylvania before his family fled to the United States, Ferencz grew up in a tough, New York City neighborhood, persevering as a gifted law student, then enlisting in the Army during World War II. At 27, he was thrust upon the world stage as chief prosecutor in the historic Nuremberg Trials. His crusade for a new justice system based on tolerance and compassion led to the formation of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Nominee Best Canadian Feature Film and Audience Award for Best Doc Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

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Tel Aviv on Fire

Directed by Sameh Zoabi
Drama/Comedy
97 minutes
Hebrew (with English subtitles)

A hilarious, outlandish satire follows Salam. He is failing at his job on a Palestinian TV soap opera popular with both Israelis and Palestinians. His daily commute through the Israeli checkpoint from his home in Jerusalem to his job in Ramallah leads to regular encounters with the IDF officer in charge. When the officer demands Salam to change the show’s storyline to make his wife happy, Salam struggles with concocting plot twists to suit viewers on both sides.

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The Unorthodox

Directed by Eliran Malka
Feature
92 minutes
Hebrew (English, French subtitles)

A fast-paced documentary about underdogs who triumph. Angered when his daughter is expelled from school simply for being Sephardic, Yakov Cohen galvanizes his friends to improvise a grassroots campaign to form the Shas Party, dedicated to Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Jews. It’s 1983 and Yakov is just a regular guy with no knowledge, no money, no connections, and no political experience. Along with two friends, they start the first ethnic political group in Jerusalem. Their operation is informal, full of love for their fellow man, animated by a great sense of humor and a whole lot of rage. Their efforts reshape Israeli society in ways that still resonate today.

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Picture of His Life

Directed by Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir
Documentary
English
72 minutes

World-famous Israeli underwater wild-life photographer Amos Nachoum is determined to get the picture of an Arctic polar bear.  He swam with crocodiles, killer whales, anacondas and great white sharks, but always dreamed of swimming underwater with a polar bear. Nachoum had tried it before and barely escaped. As the journey unfolds for the 65-year-old photographer, so does the story of his past; his difficult childhood, his service in an elite unit during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and other experiences that led to this quest. Filmmaker Dani Menkin (who appeared at LJFF with his film On The Map), and producer Nancy Spielberg, have teamed together to show many of our most popular festival films in the past.

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The Keeper

Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmuller
Drama/Romance
English
120 minutes

The true story of Bert Trautmann, a German soldier, and prisoner of war who, amid much protest and prejudice, secures the position of the goalkeeper at Manchester City and becomes a soccer icon. His signing causes outrage to thousands of fans, many of them Jewish. What proved decisive was a remarkable open letter to the press from Manchester’s communal rabbi, Alexander Altmann, who fled from the Nazis, asking for Trautmann to be given a chance.  Trautmann’s love for Margaret, an Englishwoman, sustains him, but fate will soon twist for them when their love and loyalty to each other is put to the ultimate test.
Received the Audience Award at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

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