(New York Jewish Week) — In 2002, in an effort to revitalize a struggling Lower Manhattan in the wake of the the September 11 terrorist attacks, Jewish entertainment and real estate power couple Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff partnered with a little-known character actor named Robert De Niro to launch a major film festival in New York.
Though Rosenthal and Hatkoff are no longer together, the Tribeca Film Festival remains one of the biggest events on the annual global film calendar. Its 21st edition includes a fair share of Jewish-interest films and events, including an Orthodox horror movie, a Leonard Cohen documentary and a comedy about middle-aged Israelis.
Here’s your New York Jewish Week guide to the Jewish selections at this year’s festival, along with information about how you can see them.
“Attachment” (International premiere)
This looks to be one of the most unusual Jewish films in years: a Danish horror movie steeped in Orthodox folklore, about a lesbian romance threatened by an unhealthy relationship between one of the women and her Hasidic mother who lives downstairs. With possession themes, and a release deal already secured with horror streaming service Shudder, expect a fair amount of spooks and gasps. Also look for an upcoming interview with director Gabriel Bier Gislason in our sister publication Hey Alma.
Playing June 12, 14 and 17; also available for at-home viewing.
“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song” (New York premiere)
You don’t really care for music, do ya? Even so, the long afterlife of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is a story worth sharing: Originally written in 1984 as a ballad infused with Jewish mysticism, it’s since been covered by the world’s biggest pop stars and has come to represent every possible meaning under the sun. This documentary tells the story of how and why that “secret chord” has pleased so many. Tribeca’s screening will be accompanied by a musical tribute to Cohen headlined by his close friend, singer Judy Collins. Look for additional coverage of “Hallelujah” in JTA closer to its wider release next month.
Playing June 12 and 14.
“The Wild One” (World premiere)
The life of Holocaust-survivor-turned-theater-director Jack Garfein is vividly told in this documentary. It traces how his family fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and how he came to settle in New York, befriended luminaries including Marilyn Monroe and, ultimately, helped open the vaunted Actors Studio. The film is helmed by French director Tessa Louise-Salomé, with Willem Dafoe lending his voice as a narrator.
Playing June 11, 14 and 19; also available for at-home viewing.
“Karaoke” (World premiere)
In this Israeli comedy from writer-director Moshe Rosenthal, a middle-aged married couple experiencing suburban ennui become friendly with a bachelor who moves into their apartment building and starts hosting unhinged karaoke nights. Fans of Israeli movies will recognize the film’s stars from international hits: Lior Ashkenazi, from “Foxtrot,” and Sasson Gabay, from “The Band’s Visit.”
Playing June 10, 11 and 16; also available for at-home viewing.
“My Name is Andrea” (World premiere)
The lightning-rod life of Jewish radical feminist writer and activist Andrea Dworkin is examined in this documentary, which also features dramatic reenactments by Ashley Judd, Christine Lahti, Amandla Stenberg and Andrea Riseborough. Dworkin, the descendant of Holocaust survivors, wrote blistering critiques of misogyny and mounted a lifelong anti-pornography campaign. She also frequently explored her own Jewishness, particularly in relation to Israel, whose formation she supported in stark contrast to many of her leftist peers.
Playing June 10, 11 and 18.
“Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb” (World premiere)
Bibliophiles will salivate over this documentary about the relationship between two Jewish literary giants: Robert Caro, the widely acclaimed, 89-year-old political biographer currently racing to finish his fifth and final volume on Lyndon B. Johnson, and Robert Gottlieb, his editor and professional foil for 50 years. Filmmaker Lizzie Gottlieb, who is Robert’s daughter, directs; the talking heads include former President Bill Clinton and New Yorker editor David Remnick. “The Power Broker,” Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of New York’s visionary, tyrannical Jewish parks, housing and road-building mastermind Robert Moses, is a large point of conversation.
Playing June 12, 15, 18 and 19.
Phil Rosenthal with Alex Edelman (Talk)
The Jewish creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and foodie behind “Somebody Feed Phil” (and victim of Larry David’s “big goodbye” on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) sits down for an extended in-person conversation with the red-hot Jewish comedian whose recent, highly acclaimed stand-up show recounted his infiltration of white nationalist groups. Expect a few bagel jokes.
The event takes place June 16.