Lea and Darija.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The show must go on – that’s the word from the organizers of the 8th Jewish Eye
Festival, the World Jewish Film Festival held each year in Ashkelon, which opens
on November 13 and runs until the 21st. In spite of the missiles falling in the
South and on Ashkelon in particular, the festival will be held as planned, with
the participation of filmmakers from Israel and around the world. The festival
features 80 films from more than 20 countries – features, documentaries and
shorts that all have a Jewish theme. In addition to the films, there will be a
number of special programs, such as a salute to Yiddish films and Jewish
The guest of honor is Branko Ivanda, the director of the
opening-night film, Lea and Darija.
The Croatian director’s latest film
is about two teenage girls who were singing and dancing stars in Zagreb on the
eve of World War II. When the Nazis move in, their friendship solidifies
as they fight persecution. Ivanda also made a documentary about this story,
Children’s Kingdom: Lea and Daria, which will also be shown at the
Among the international features screened will be the very
unusual American comedy Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish, directed by Eve Annenberg.
It tells the story of a graduate student who is given the job of translating
Shakespeare’s most famous romantic drama into Yiddish. She gets help from some
young Orthodox men, and then the play is performed in Yiddish, with haredi
characters from different streams as the star-crossed lovers.
Falk’s 2010 Polish film, Joanna, is about a gentile woman in Poland who takes in
a Jewish child to save her during World War II. When the child is discovered,
the woman has an affair with a German officer so he will not turn her in, and
then she has to face charges of collaboration after the war is over.
French drama I Was in Nuremberg
is about a Nuremberg translator and a prosecutor
who find they can’t let go of the trial after it ends.
documentary category is especially rich this year. Love Me Please
the tragic story of Russian investigative journalist Anastasia Baburova, who was
killed by a neo-Nazi in 2009. Next Year in Bombay
is about two Jewish teachers
who are committed to remaining with the last members of the Bene Israel
community in Bombay. In a parallel story, Jubanos – The Jews of Cuba
, is about
the 1,500 Jews who chose to stay in Cuba under Castro. Born in a Concentration
Camp features an interview with a woman in her sixties who was one of seven
babies born in a concentration camp at the end of the war.
A wide variety
of Israeli features and documentaries, both new and older, will be shown. Among
the Israeli features will be one of the highlights of this summer’s Jerusalem
Film Festival, My Australia, which won the Audience Award. It tells the story of
two boys growing up in Poland in the 1960s who don’t know they are Jewish until
their mother suddenly decides to move the family to Israel.
, Lynn Roth’s adaptation of an Amos Oz novel about the friendship between
a Jewish boy and a British soldier (played by Alfred Molina) during the last
days of the British Mandate, will be screened. Avi Nesher’s 2007 look at the
intense friendship of two young women studying at Bible college in Safed who
begin to delve into Kabbala, The Secrets
, stars French actress Fanny Ardant as a
mysterious woman who befriends them.
A number of Israeli documentaries
will be shown as well. Yael Katzir’s documentary Violins in Wartime
its premiere at the festival. It tells the story of an international workshop
for violinists that was held in Israel during the Second Lebanon War.
Simcha Lev’s The Miracle Year
, four women make a pilgrimage to Rabbi Nachman’s
tomb, traditionally a journey his male followers take. And Albert Ben Haim’s
Young Zionist of Dror in Morocco documents Jewish life in Morocco from
1950-1960.For more information and to order tickets, go to the
festival’s website atwww.jewisheye.org.il.