Fun and provocative

Laughs, tears and recipes are featured at this year’s Jerusalem Jewish film fest.

Fun and provocative (photo credit: Courtesy)
Fun and provocative
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 15th annual Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival (November 30 to December 6 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque) is shaping up to be one of the most thought-provoking – and fun – film festivals in recent years.
With a poster that shows a scene featuring a woman holding Dr.
Frankenstein under the tagline “You’re either a doctor, a lawyer or a disappointment,” the festival will showcase its trademark mix of new feature films with Jewish themes, original documentaries, restored classics, musical performances and other events.
It also features appearances by a number of distinguished filmmakers.
Agniezska Holland will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in Warsaw, she has directed awardwinning movies on a wide variety of themes, including two Oscarnominated films set during the Holocaust, In Darkness (2011) and Europa Europa (1990). The prolific and multifaceted director, who in recent years has interspersed her filmmaking with directing episodes of the cable TV dramas The Wire and Treme, will be present at a screening of her early film Angry Harvest (1985).
The opening film of the festival is the recent comedy Peace after Marriage, directed by Ghazi Albuliwi, a Jordanian-born, Brooklyn-raised standup comic, who will be present. The film, which stars the director, as well as Hiam Abbas (Lemon Tree, The Visitor) and Egyptian actor Hany Kamel, has been described as an Israeli-Palestinian version of Sex and the City.
The festival will feature many films of great interest to anyone with a passion for Jewish history. Among these will be Life of the Jews of Palestine: 1913, a rarely shown, recently restored documentary that was made by Noah Sokolovsky with a group from Odessa.
Among the many documentaries is Lilly Rivlin’s Esther Broner – A Weave of Women, about the evolution of Jewish feminism. It features interviews with leading Jewish feminists. Following the screening, there will be a conversation with the director and several other women, including Israel Prize Winner Prof. Alice Shalvi; Naomi Nimrod of Isha Le’Isha and Rabbi Na’ama Kelman, dean of the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem. Rivlin’s last film was Grace Paley: Collected Shorts.
Director Susan Korda will be present at a screening of her film One of Us, the story of her own dysfunctional family, which examines the role that surviving the Holocaust played in her father’s life.
A special program of films in the festival celebrate Jewish food and cooking. Jerusalem’s cuisine is recognized and analyzed in the film James Nutt’s Jerusalem on a Plate, which is a culinary tour of the city hosted by Jerusalem-born UK chef Yoram Ottolenghi.
Michael Teutsch celebrates a famous Jerusalem landmark in Café Ta’amon: King George Street Jerusalem. Ron Landau and Tomer Shani take a look at two distinct sides of Jerusalem cuisine in Strudel in Tehina, a look at two restaurants, Fink’s and Pinati.
The Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller follows the foodie and her family through their first year in Israel.
Aliza Eshed and Eli Abir’s Juicy Nonsense examines the cuisine of German-born Jews.
Vendela Nol’s Make Me a Match is a documentary about single, observant Jews looking for love, and it will be followed by a singles’ mixer that will be attended by the participants in the film and a “marriage architect.”
There will be a number of documentaries about impressive artists, intellectuals and philosophers.
Director Frank Diamond will host a conversation following his documentary When Memory Comes – A Film about Saul Friedlander, a biography of the historian.
The famous graphic artist and his work are the focus of The Art of Spiegelman, a rare glimpse into the world of the man who created Maus.
Clara Kuperberg and Joelle Oosterlinck directed this portrait of an artist who says he would prefer not to be thought of as the “Eli Wiesel of comic books.”
The First Fagin, directed by Alan Rosenthal and Helen Gaynor, is a look at Solomon, a real criminal who inspired Charles Dickens to create the villain in Oliver Twist.
Set on a different continent, Matthew Miele’s Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s examines the history of that iconic store.
A very different historical reality is behind Min Sook Lee’s The Real Inglourious Basterds, which takes a look at the actual soldiers who inspired Quentin Tarantino’s popular film. This is only one of a number of films that spotlight Holocaust experiences glimpsed through different points of view.
Steven Pressman’s 50 Children – The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus details the amazing story of an ordinary Philadelphia couple who went to Germany in 1939 to save as many Jewish children as possible.
Jerome Prieur’s Helene Berr, une jeune fille dans Paris occupe is a portrait of a young woman slightly older than Anne Frank who lived in Paris and was murdered in the Holocaust.
The film October 43 – The Rescue of Danish Jews, directed by Jonathan Jerichow and Carl Otto Dethlefsen, tells the story of the deportations and the escape of many Jews. It combines rare archival footage with the testimonies of survivors.
The One That Got Away is about a 15-year-old who fled from Hungary and regrets that he did not keep in touch with his first love, then discovers that she also survived.
There are also many feature films, including comedies. Sleeping with the Fishes, directed by Nicole Gomez Fisher, is a comedy about the tribulations of a mixed Latino-Jewish family.
An evening of films in honor of the Ethiopian community in Israel will be presented.
There will also be a competition of Israeli short films in memory of Benaya Zuckerman.
For more information and tickets, go to