The New York Jewish Film Festival
January 11 -26, 2006
32 Movies in 16 days!
A Preeminent Showcase for World Cinema
Welcome to the 15th annual New York Jewish Film Festival, a collaboration between The Jewish Museum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. This year, we are delighted to present another fresh, new group of films that bring a striking diversity of perspectives to enduring themes of the Jewish artistic tradition. The movies presented by filmmakers from Australia, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the U.K., the U.S. and beyond express in infinite variety the humor, resilience, and hope that have sustained Jews for millennia. Collectively these selections reveal a modern Jewish identity at once serious and playful, reflective and full of joy. Last year's hits included the New York premieres of Lost Embrace, Watermarks, and Nina's Tragedies, among other treasures. Please join us for this sometimes tragic, often triumphant, and always compelling cinematic journey at the 2006 New York Jewish Film Festival.
Screenings, unless otherwise noted, are at:
The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 165 West 65 Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, plaza level.
Download and print a pdf of the New York Jewish Film Festival schedule.
Download and print a pdf of the print source list.
Golub: Late Works Are the Catastrophes
Directors: Jerry Blumenthal* and Gordon Quinn
NY PREMIERE (U.S., 2004, 82 min., video)
This documentary offers a glimpse into the private studio of the late New York artist Leon Golub, whose monumental paintings call attention to human rights violations and the abuse of power. Directors Blumenthal and Quinn update their original tour de force Golub (New York Film Festival, 1988) with recent footage of the artist shortly before his death. The film also includes warm and comic exchanges between Golub and his wife, artist Nancy Spero.
Director: Guillaume Moscovitz
US PREMIERE (France, 2005, 100 min., 35mm, Polish, French, and Hebrew with English subtitles)
During the Holocaust, Belzec, in Eastern Poland, was one of the most efficient death camps in Europe, despite being in operation for less than one year. As World War II came to an end, the Nazis removed all traces of Belzec. Moscovitz weaves footage of the camp's recent excavation with interviews with local townspeople and testimony from the camp's sole Jewish survivor. ''a chilling account that's as much about remembrance as it is about the past.''Variety
Live and Become
Director: Radu Mihaileanu
NY PREMIERE (France/Israel, 2005, 140 min., 35mm, Amharic, French, and Hebrew with English subtitles)
This riveting drama opens in a Sudanese refugee camp in 1984, when an Ethiopian Christian mother urges her son to assume a Jewish identity in order to escape war and famine. As part of the airlift 'Operation Moses,' Solomon/Shlomo is adopted by an Israeli family, but he dreams of returning to his birth mother. Radu Mihaileanu, best known for his controversial comedy Train of Life, directs an epic film about a boy burdened with a deep secret.
Pork and Milk
Director: Valerie Mrijen
NY PREMIERE (France, 2004, 52 min., 35mm, Hebrew with English subtitles)
Shot in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, this documentary concerns ten Israelis who abandon their ultra-Orthodox traditions and embrace secular lifestyles. As they take their first steps in a strange new world, their difficult decision leads to a break with family and community.
Keep Not Silent: Ortho-Dykes
Director: Ilil Alexander (Israel, 2004, 52 min., video, English and Hebrew with English subtitles)
This debut film examines the lives of three Orthodox lesbians who find the courage to make their lives whole and holy. Torah provides them with order and guidance on all matters; but for women who love women, traditional Jewish law cultivates fear and shame. To be true to themselves, they face the consequences of losing contact with family members and friends. Using opaque curtains, silhouettes, and web-cams to protect identities, Ilil Alexander's documentary provides entry into a hidden world in need of healing.
Director: Ariel Zylbersztejn
(Mexico, 2004, 9 min., video, Spanish with English subtitles)
Truth lies in a grandmother's false explanation about the numbers tattooed on her arm.
Director: Mari Cantu
NY PREMIERE (Hungary/Germany, 2004, 94 min., 35mm, Hungarian with English subtitles)
Two ten year old siblings, secluded in their idyllic Budapest villa, witness the unfolding of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. They live out their happy childhood largely under the watchful eye of their superstitious and colorful nanny. Their Jewish father, a high-ranking official in the Rkosi regime, is put in a complicated and ultimately dangerous position. And one fine day, a Russian tank appears in their garden.
Directors: Dominic Harari and Teresa de Pelegri
NY PREMIERE (Spain/United Kingdom/Argentina/Portugal, 2004, 89 min., 35mm, Spanish with English subtitles)
Guess who's coming to dinner at the Dalinsky home? In this Spanish screwball comedy, Leni introduces her Palestinian fiance to her Jewish family. Murder, mayhem, and belly dancing ensue in this cross-cultural romp that provides comic relief to a seemingly irresolvable conflict.
The Living Orphan
Director: Joseph Seiden
US PREMIERE OF A RESTORED PRINT (U.S., 1939, 90 min., 35mm, Yiddish with English subtitles)
Based on Sholom Secunda's Yiddish play Der Yusem, this is a film about the dramatic and often traumatic lives of immigrants on and off-stage. The melodrama centers on a theater couple experiencing marital problems, and includes encounters with alcoholism, separation, and poverty. The film features rare footage of the Lower East Side.
Director: Jack Feldstein*
NY PREMIERE (Australia, 2005, 19 min., video)
Jack Feldstein's neon animation describes how a 90 year-old Jewish pensioner helps a shlemiel find true love.
Director: Ira Wohl
WORLD PREMIERE (U.S., 2005, 59 min., video)
Ira Wohl (Best Man, NYJFF 1998) returns with Best Sister, an intimate portrait of his 80 year-old cousin, Frances Reiss. In Best Man, Frances was the primary caretaker for her mentally retarded brother Philly, also the subject of Wohl's Academy Award-winning Best Boy. In the latest 'Best' film, Frances finds herself in the difficult position of depending on others. During one week of filming in Queens, Wohl captures Frances in an emotional arc of exhaustion, loneliness, dignity, and joy.
'The Divine Sarah'
A special screening in conjunction with the exhibition Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama, on view at The Jewish Museum, through April 2, 2006.
Director: Andre Calmettes
(France, 1912, 30 min., 35mm, silent)
Adapted from Alexandre Dumas fils' 1852 novel and play, Lady of the Camelias tells the tragic story of a courtesan who gives up her lover rather than see him ostracized by high society.
Queen Elizabeth (Les Amours de la Reine Elisabeth)
Director: Louis Mercanton
(France, 1912, 53 min., 35mm, silent with English intertitles)
In one of her most highly praised roles, Sarah Bernhardt portrays Elizabeth's legendary ill-fated love affair with Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. The film was produced by Film d'Art, a company founded to bring theater to the masses using the new medium of film. After Adolph Zukor brought the film to New York with great success, he convinced other American companies of the commercial viability of feature-length films. When Bernhardt, at age sixty-five, accepted the offer to star in Queen Elizabeth and Camille, she remarked, 'This is my last chance at immortality.'
Introduction and discussion with exhibition co-curators Carol Ockman, Professor of Art History, Williams College and Kenneth E. Silver, Professor of Fine Arts, New York University.
Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin.
A Cantor's Tale
Director: Erik Greenberg Anjou
NY PREMIERE (U.S., 2005, 94 min., video)
Charismatic cantor Jack Mendelson is today's heir to the great Eastern European cantorial tradition that fermented in postwar Brooklyn. With missionary zeal, Mendelson teaches a new generation of hazzanim - men and women - the art of Jewish liturgical music. The film features commentary by Alan Dershowitz, Jackie Mason, and Metropolitan Opera tenor Neil Shicoff. Klezmatics composer Frank London provides the original score.
Director: Jonathan Greenfield
NY PREMIERE (Germany, 2005, 14 min., 35mm, German with English subtitles)
A letter from America forces a 73 year-old Berliner to confront a traumatic experience from his childhood.
The Two Lives of Eva
Director: Esther Hoffenberg
US PREMIERE (France, 2005, 84 min., video, French, English, and German with English subtitles)
Eva, the mother of a 'perfect family', suffered from a severe psychological illness. It was only after her episodic breakdowns that Eva revealed stories about her youth in Poland, raised by a wealthy German Protestant family. After the war she married a Holocaust survivor, converted to Judaism, and raised four Jewish children. Eventually Eva's past caught up with her, torturing her with feelings of guilt. Years later, Eva's daughter - filmmaker Esther Hoffenberg - sets out to investigate the relationship between illness and identity, as well as personal and social history. On a journey through imaginary and real worlds, the filmmaker poses the following question: To what extent do guilt, lies, and repression continue to live in our descendents?
Director: Shosh Shlam*
NY PREMIERE (Israel, 2005, 50 min., video, Hebrew with English subtitles)
How does it feel to have been pregnant or nursing for 25 out of 26 years of your married life? Director Shosh Shlam poses this question and others in this frank documentary about the impact of childbearing on four ultra-Orthodox women. In the film, one mother dramatically transforms from an obedient wife into an independent woman who rebels against social conventions.
Sentenced to Marriage
Director: Anat Zuria
(Israel, 2004, 65 min., video, Hebrew with English subtitles)
Winner of the best documentary award at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Sentenced to Marriage breaks the code of silence surrounding divorce in Israel's rabbinical court system. Anat Zuria (Purity, NYJFF 2004) profiles three strong women who gird themselves for battle while trying to maintain their sanity and faith.
La Petite Jerusalem
Director: Karin Albou
NY PREMIERE (France, 2005, 97 min., 35mm, French, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles)
This searing drama is set in Sarcelles, a low-income suburb of Paris known as 'Little Jerusalem.' Laura, a young student of Kantian philosophy, is torn between worldly desires and her Sephardic family's Orthodox traditions. Passions ignite when she meets Djamel, an exiled Algerian Muslim. Laura's pious sister Mathilde embarks on a parallel emotional journey to bridge Jewish law and sexual desire.
Director: Pavel Loungin
(Russia/France, 2005, 107 min., 35mm, Russian, English, and Yiddish with English subtitles)
Edik is a smooth-talking grifter who devises a grand money-making scheme in a backwater Ukrainian town. With the support of the local mob, he casts the citizens of Golutvin as long-lost relatives of Jewish tourists. In this bawdy, dark comedy, director Pavel Loungin takes his audience on a heritage tour run amok.
Directors: Judy Gelles and Marianne Bernstein
NY PREMIERE (U.S., 2005, 36 min., video)
Six American Jewish octogenarians recall serving their country during World War II while fighting anti-Semitism at home and abroad.
A Treasure in Auschwitz
Director: Yahaly Gat
US PREMIERE (Israel, 2005, 55 min., video, Hebrew, English, and Polish with English subtitles)
Upon hearing an elderly shopkeeper's fantastic story about buried Judaica near Auschwitz, a young Israeli organizes an archaeological dig in the Great Synagogue of Oswiecim, the town located near the infamous Nazi death camp. Yahaly Gat's documentary reveals secrets of the past, and provides an opportunity for cross-generational dialogue.
Director: Ramin Farahani
(The Netherlands, 2005, 52 min., video, English, Hebrew, and Farsi with English subtitles)
Ramin Farahani turns his lens to Persian Jews - - whose community in Iran dates back 2,700 years - focusing on those who remained after the mass exodus following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Jews in Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz relate various kinds of discrimination they face, but the film also describes positive aspects of Iranian society, including the friendship between two tolerant Muslim and Jewish families.
Love Iranian-American Style
Director: Tanaz Eshaghian
WORLD PREMIERE (U.S., 2005, 62 min., video, English and Farsi with English subtitles)
Tanaz Eshaghian is a first-generation Iranian Jew, and self-described 'weirdo,' who doesn't conform to her community's standards: she's independent, artistic, and outspoken. Tanaz reluctantly agrees to blind dates with businessmen and dentists, but can't stomach the idea of a practical marriage with a Persian yuppie. This guided tour through New York and 'Irangeles' maintains a wry sense of humor while examining issues of shame and sexual purity.
Director: Jes Benstock
NY PREMIERE (United Kingdom, 2005, 10 min., video)
Comedy director Jes Benstock visits the dark corners of his family tree armed with a camera, his dad, and a therapist.
The Chosen People
Director: Igal Hecht
NY PREMIERE (Canada, 2004, 68 min., video)
This documentary takes us on a deep, personal tour of Messianic Jews, the controversial religious movement also known as Jews for Jesus. Followers preach and proselytize that Jews can accept Jesus as the messiah while maintaining their Jewish identity. Through interviews with converts and counter-missionary activists in Toronto, Hungary, and Israel, Igal Hecht offers a window into a growing phenomenon.
Director: Willy Lindwer
NY PREMIERE (The Netherlands, 2004, 90 min., video, English and Dutch with English subtitles)
Goodbye Holland is a shocking documentary that uncovers the painful truth about a country's indifference and collaboration during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands. The film also deals with the period during and after liberation when citizens and government officials met Jews with an icy reception. In a moving personal exploration of a national betrayal, Willy Lindwer shatters myths about Dutch tolerance.
Director: November Wanderin*
US PREMIERE (Austria/Germany, 2005, 12 min., video, English and Yiddish with English subtitles)
Parodying historical fiction, documentary, and early silent Yiddish film, November Wanderin deconstructs a family legend.
Director: Ido Haar
NY PREMIERE (Israel, 2004, 72 min., video, Hebrew, English, and Russian with English subtitles)
Young Israeli director Ido Haar documents a search for his grandfather, a Red Army hero who abandoned his pregnant wife and disappeared somewhere in the Siberian steppes. With his mother Marina's permission, Ido is able to locate his grandfather. Marina ponders what secrets this discovery might reveal. The resulting reunion is full of surprises for all involved.
The Diaries of Yossef Nachmani
Director: Dalia Karpel
NY PREMIERE (Israel, 2005, 60 min., video, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles)
This documentary explores the life and work of a Jewish National Fund administrator who was largely responsible for Jewish settlements in the Galilee in the 1930s and 40s. Nachmani left behind a fascinating series of journals that shed new light upon the author's complex and contradictory personality. Through these extensive diaries, the film examines critical years of Zionism and the beginning of the Jewish-Arab conflict from the unique perspective of a man who displayed determination and persistence on one hand, and fear and doubt on the other.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring:
Dalia Karpel, filmmaker, The Diaries of Yosef Nachmani
Uri S. Cohen, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Literature, Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
Yael Zerubavel, Professor of Jewish Studies and History, The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, Rutgers University
Moderator: Richard Pena, Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center and Associate Professor, School of the Arts, Film Division, Columbia University
AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM
Films by Ira Wohl in conjunction with the World Premiere of Best Sister.
Director: Ira Wohl
(U.S., 1979, 104 min., video)
The Academy Award-winning Best Boy is a profoundly touching story of love, overwhelming courage, and human dignity. Philly Wohl is a cheerful 52-year-old man born with mental retardation. When his cousin, filmmaker Ira Wohl, questions what will happen to Philly once his elderly parents can no longer care for him, the family embarks on a mission to help Philly become more independent. Their "best boy" ultimately proves that it is possible to overcome any obstacle, no matter how insurmountable it might seem.
Director: Ira Wohl
(U.S., 1997, 90 min., video)
This moving sequel to Best Boy continues the story of Philly twenty years later. Wohl uses the same intimate family verite style to show us how Philly makes new friends, attends classes, and takes on new responsibilities as a 70-year-old Bar Mitzvah.
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street
New York, NY
Tickets for these screenings are available only at The Jewish Museum.
IN PERSON: Lobby Admissions Desk
ADDITIONAL SCREENINGS AT
MAKOR/STEINHARDT CENTER OF THE 92ND STREET Y
Pork and Milk/Keep Not Silent
Following this screening: New York Jewish Film Festival Directors' Party
The NYJFF Directorse Party celebrates the 15th Annual NYJFF and its talented filmmakers. Meet present and past NYJFF directors while listening to the music of The Sway Machinery, DJ Handler and the 2005 Golden Bagel award winner for Best Jewish Punk Band, Golem. With short films by NYJFF directors Jes Benstock and Jack Feldstein. Complimentary drinks courtesy of Original Sin Cider plus exciting prizes.
Co-sponsored by: The Jewish Museum, Makor/92nd St Y, Heeb Magazine & Film Society of Lincoln Center's Young Friends of Film (YFF).
Tickets: Ticket holders for this screening of Pork & Milk admitted free; Ticket holders for Walter Reade's January 18th NYJFF 6:00pm and 9:00pm screenings can purchase tickets at the door for $8; General admission $10; Jewish Museum & YFF members can purchase tickets at the door for $8.
A Cantor's Tale
La Petite Jerusalem
35 West 67 Street (between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue)
Tickets for these screenings are available only at the Makor/Steinhardt Center.
IN PERSON: the Makor box office
W 1/11 1:30 Golub
1/11 3:30 Belzec
1/11 6:15 Live and Become
1/11 9:15 Golub
TH 1/12 1:00 Belzec
1/12 3:30 Pork and Milk/Keep Not Silent
1/12 6:15 Belzec
1/12 8:45 Pork and Milk/Keep Not Silent
SA 1/14 7:00 Jai/Rosehill
1/14 9:15 Only Human
SU 1/15 1:00 The Living Orphan
1/15 3:15 The Loser Who Won/Best Sister
1/15 5:45 Only Human
1/15 8:15 Jai/Rosehill
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
M 1/16 12:30 Lady of the Camelias/Queen Elizabeth
1/16 3:30 The Loser Who Won/Best Sister
1/16 6:00 A Cantores Tale
1/16 8:15 Pork and Milk/Keep Not Silent
T 1/17 1:00 A Cantor's Tale
1/17 3:30 Chaim/The Two Lives of Eva
1/17 6:15 Jai/Rosehill
1/17 8:30 Only Human
W 1/18 1:30 Chaim/The Two Lives of Eva
1/18 4:00 The Loser Who Won/Best Sister
1/18 6:00 Be Fruitful and Multiply/Sentenced to Marriage
1/18 9:00 Chaim/The Two Lives of Eva
TH 1/19 1:00 The Living Orphan
1/19 3:00 La Petite Jerusalem
1/19 6:00 Roots
1/19 8:30 La Petite Jerusalem
SA 1/21 7:00 La Petite Jerusalem
1/21 9:15 Roots
SU 1/22 1:00 The Living Orphan
1/22 3:15 From Philadelphia to the Front/A Treasure in Auschwitz
1/22 6:00 Jews of Iran/Love Iranian-American Style
1/22 8:45 Be Fruitful and Multiply/Sentenced to Marriage
M 1/23 1:00 From Philadelphia to the Front/A Treasure in Auschwitz
1/23 3:30 Orders of Love/The Chosen People
1/23 6:00 Be Fruitful and Multiply/Sentenced to Marriage
1/23 8 :45 Orders of Love/The Chosen People
T 1/24 12:30 Goodbye Holland
1/24 3:00 From Philadelphia to the Front/A Treasure in Auschwitz
1/24 8:30 Roots
Screenings at The Jewish Museum*
T 1/24 3:30 Best Boy*
1/24 6:30 Best Man*
W 1/25 1:00 Goodbye Holland
1/25 3:30 Jews of Iran/Love Iranian-American Style
1/25 6:30 The Night Trotsky Came to Dinner/Melting Siberia
1/25 8:30 The Diaries of Yossef Nachmani
TH 1/26 1:00 The Night Trotsky Came to Dinner/Melting Siberia
1/26 3:15 Jews of Iran/Love Iranian-American Style
1/26 6:15 Goodbye Holland
1/26 8:30 The Night Trotsky Came to Dinner/Melting Siberia
*Tickets for these films are available only at The Jewish Museum.
Susan Alper, Montreal Jewish Film Festival; Olli Chanoff, Lori Cearley, The Office; Josh Ford, Danette Wolpert, Washington Jewish Film Festival; Nicola Galliner, Berlin Jewish Film Festival; Aviva Kempner; Anne Morra, Museum of Modern Art; Les Rabinowicz, Festival of Jewish Cinema - Australia; Sharon Rivo, Mimi Krant, National Center for Jewish Film; Sara L. Rubin, Kaj Wilson, Boston Jewish Film Festival; Peter L. Stein, Nancy Fishman, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival; Lia van Leer, Jerusalem Film Festival; Alla Verlotsky, Seagull Films; The Film Society of Lincoln Center staff; The Jewish Museum staff; Makor staff.
Selection Committee: Rachel Chanoff, Independent Curator; Andrew Ingall, Assistant Curator, The Jewish Museum; Richard PeÅˆa, Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center; Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator and Director of the NYJFF, The Jewish Museum.
Funders: The New York Jewish Film Festival is made possible by a lead grant from The Martin and Doris Payson Charitable Foundation, and major support from The David Berg Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Liman Foundation, The Jack and Pearl Resnick Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mimi and Barry Alperin, The Israel Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA, the French Embassy, Rita and Burton Goldberg in memory of Maurice Paprin, The Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York, and other donors.