Anne Scher/Alex Wittenberg
The Film Society of Lincoln Center
MARKS ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY AS NY’S PREEMINENT SHOWCASE FOR WORLD CINEMA EXPLORING THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE
Presented by Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Jewish Museum, Jan. 12-27
Press screenings on Dec. 17 & 20, Jan. 4, 5 & 6
NEW YORK, NY—The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center will present the 20th annual New York Jewish Film Festival at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater, The Jewish Museum, and The JCC in Manhattan, Jan. 12-27, 2011. The festival’s 36 features and shorts from 14 countries—31 screening in their world, U.S. or New York premieres—provide a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience. In celebration of the festival’s 20th anniversary, several film screenings will be followed by filmmakers and special guests in onstage discussions and/or performances.
The festival opens on Wednesday, January 12, with the New York premiere of “Mahler on the Couch,” Percy and Felix Adlon’s witty examination of composer Gustav Mahler’s relationship with his tempestuous wife, Alma, and his consultations with Sigmund Freud. The film is filled with Mahler’s sublime music, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. It joins the closing night film, Avi Nesher’s “The Matchmaker”—a New York premiere about a teenage boy in 1968 Haifa who gets a job working for a matchmaker who is a Holocaust survivor. This film was nominated for seven Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Festival documentary screenings include three world premieres. Daniel Burman’s “36 Righteous Men” (“Los 36 Justos”) follows a group of Orthodox Jews on their annual pilgrimage to the tombs of Tzaddikim (righteous men) in Russia, Ukraine and Poland, culminating in a visit to the tomb of the founder of Hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov. Jonathan Gruber’s “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” is the first film to address the struggles that American Jews faced on the battlefield and at the home front on both sides in the Civil War, and features the voice of Sam Waterson as Abraham Lincoln. Joseph Dorman’s “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness” is a moving portrait of the great Yiddish writer, whose stories inspired Fiddler on the Roof.
Four documentaries examine facets of contemporary Israeli life. Eytan Harris’ “As Lilith,” receiving its New York premiere, takes the viewer through the aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide. Her grieving mother wishes to cremate the daughter’s body over the objections of Israel’s emergency service. Anat Zuria’s “Black Bus,” also receiving its New York premiere, chronicles the lives of two women who leave the close-knit Haredi community and are consequently estranged from their families. Shlomi Eldar’s “Precious Life,” an HBO Documentary Film, tells the complex and touching story of Israeli and Palestinian doctors’ attempts to save the life of a Palestinian baby born without an immune system. Lisa Gossels’ “My So-Called Enemy,” receiving its New York City premiere, tells the story of six Palestinian and Israeli girls who participate in a program meant to bridge the gap between the two sides.
Two films examine the deportation of French Jews during the Holocaust. Raphaël Delpard’s documentary, “Convoys of Shame” (“Les Convois de la Honte”), receiving its United States premiere, explores how SNCF (the French national rail company) transported thousands of Jews, Roma and members of the resistance to Nazi concentration camps. Accounts from eyewitnesses, historians, and lawyers are supplemented by dramatizations. Roselyne Bosch’s “The Roundup” (“La Rafle”), receiving its New York premiere, dramatizes the infamous “Vel d’Hiv” roundup of 13,000 Jews. The film, which has created a sensation in France, features Jean Reno (The DaVinci Code) and Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds).
There will be a special screening of George Marshall’s 1953 “Houdini” in memory of Tony Curtis and in conjunction with The Jewish Museum’s current exhibition, Houdini: Art and Magic. This film stars Curtis as the legendary magician and escape artist Harry Houdini and Janet Leigh as his wife. The screening will be followed by a performance by contemporary magical entertainer Josh Rand.
Restored versions of two archival films will receive their United States premieres. Ján Kádar’s 1975 film, “Lies My Father Told Me,” follows 6-year old David, who lives in 1920s Montreal with his Canadian-born parents and his beloved grandfather, a junk peddler who emigrated from Russia. In Max Nosseck’s 1956 work, ”Singing in the Dark,” Yiddish star Moishe Oysher plays a concentration camp survivor suffering from traumatic amnesia. One of the first feature films to dramatize the Holocaust, this was Oysher’s only English-language film. There will also be a special screening of the classic 1939 “Tevye,” directed by and starring Maurice Schwartz, at The Jewish Museum. Restored with new subtitles by The National Center for Jewish Film, this adaptation of the Sholem Aleichem play will be followed by a book signing with J. Hoberman, author of the newly expanded Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds.
Eve Annenberg’s “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish” will have its United States premiere. A middle-aged ER nurse who is a bitterly lapsed observant Jew undertakes a Yiddish translation of Shakespeare’s great classic. In perhaps the first Yiddish “mumblecore” film, Annenberg creates a parallel universe where Romeo and Juliet stem from divergent streams of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and speak their lines in street-smart Yiddish.
Two additional dramas receive their New York premieres. Acclaimed Israeli director Eran Riklis’ “The Human Resources Manager,” based on A. B. Yehoshua’s novel, follows a human resources manager at a Jerusalem bakery on a journey to Romania to accompany the corpse of an employee killed in a suicide bombing. Along the way he is at turns aided and hindered by her family, local politicians and a persistent reporter. This film is Israel’s official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Fabián Hofman’s poignant drama, “I Miss You” (“Te Extraño”) depicts the exile of 15 year-old Javier from his native Argentina during the 1970s. Sent to live in Mexico after the “disappearance” of his older brother, Javier struggles to grow up and to separate himself from the specter of his missing sibling.
Three documentaries highlight different facets of musical life. Erik Greenberg Anjou’s “The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground,” receiving its New York premiere, mixes mesmerizing performances by the Grammy Award-winning band with soulful interviews. “Red Shirley,” receiving its New York premiere, is directed by Lou Reed and photographed by portraitist Ralph Gibson. The film is a portrait of Reed’s 100 year-old activist, unionist cousin. The Saturday, January 15 screening will be followed by a discussion with Lou Reed and Ralph Gibson. Garry Beitel’s “The ‘Socalled’ Movie” is a portrait of klezmer hip-hop artist Socalled, aka, Josh Dolgin. A pianist, singer, arranger, rapper, producer and composer, he works to break the boundaries that separate music from different cultures, eras and generations. Socalled will perform following the screening on Saturday, January 22.
Three additional documentaries receive United States premieres. Nir David Zats & Zuzanna Solakiewicz’s “Cabaret Polska” is an unusual take on the effects of the 1968 anti-Semitic campaign in Poland, combining documentary footage with cabaret performance and animation. Ivo Krankowski & Jan Śpiewak’s “8 Stories That Haven’t Changed the World” offers childhood memories of eight Polish Jews born before World War II. They vividly recall their first days at school, books they read, and their first loves. Raymond Ley’s “Eichmann’s End: Love, Betrayal, Death” retells the story leading up to the capture of Adolph Eichmann by Mossad agents in Argentina through real-life testimonials interwoven with dramatic scenarios. At the heart of the film is the true story of a love affair between a Holocaust survivor’s daughter and the boy she did not realize was Eichmann’s son.
Six additional documentaries receive New York premieres. Yoav Potash’s “Crime After Crime,” depicts the legal battle to free a woman imprisoned in California for over a quarter century due to her connection to the murder of the man who abused her. She finds her only hope for freedom when two attorneys – one of them an Orthodox Jew – step forward to take on her case. In “Sixty and the City,” documentarian Nili Tal decides at age 60 that she doesn’t want to get older alone. With honesty and an amazing sense of humor, she turns the camera on herself and some of her dates as she searches for romance on the Internet. Kevin McNeer’s “Stalin Thought of You” looks at the life of Russian illustrator Boris Efimov, who produced political cartoons on nearly every world event of the past hundred years. Efimov’s words, drawings and animated films are interwoven with rarely seen footage from the Russian State Film Archive. Rod Freedman’s “Wrong Side of the Bus” focuses on Sidney Bloch, an internationally recognized professor of psychiatry and ethicist who returns to South Africa for his medical school reunion, determined to resolve the guilt that has troubled him for 40 years. Karen Goodman & Kirk Simon’s “Strangers No More” is about a Tel Aviv school where children from 48 countries, including Darfur, South Africa, and Eritrea, come together. Dan Wolman’s “Yolande: An Unsung Heroine” tells the story of Yolande Gabai de Botton, considered by many the Jewish “Mata Hari,” who risked her son’s life and her own while collecting intelligence in Egypt and fighting for the creation of an independent State of Israel while undercover as a reporter.
Lilly Rivlin’s “Grace Paley: Collected Shorts”, receiving its New York City premiere, explores the life of the acclaimed writer and activist through footage of Paley and her family, as well as interviews with Alice Walker, Allan Gurganus and others.
This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Andrew Ingall, Assistant Curator, The Jewish Museum; Richard Peña, Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator and Director of The New York Jewish Film Festival, The Jewish Museum; with assistance from Sheryl Santacruz, Film Festival Coordinator, The Jewish Museum.
The New York Jewish Film Festival is made possible by donors to The Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media, and by generous grants from The Martin and Doris Payson Charitable Foundation, The Liman Foundation, Northern Trust, Mimi and Barry Alperin, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other donors. Additional support has been provided through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties. Warner Bros. Entertainment is a lead supporter of the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media. The Israel Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA, the French Embassy, and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York provided travel assistance.
Media Sponsor: WNET.ORG.
The majority of The New York Jewish Film Festival’s screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, located at 165 West 65th St. between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. One additional screening will be held at The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd Street; and one at The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at West 76th Street.
Single screening tickets for The New York Jewish Film Festival are $12; $9 for students; $8 for seniors (62+); and $7 for Film Society and Jewish Museum members.
Tickets for screenings at the Walter Reade Theater and The Jewish Museum go on sale Sunday, January 2, 2011 at the Walter Reade Theater Box Office; and online at www.FilmLinc.com. For complete festival information, visit www.FilmLinc.com, www.TheJewishMuseum.org, or call 212.875.5601. For tickets and information about the screening at The JCC in Manhattan, call 646.505.5708 or visit www.jccmanhattan.org/film.
About The Jewish Museum
Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent United States institution exploring 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture. The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, located at Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, the Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. For more information, visit www.TheJewishMuseum.org.
About Film Society of Lincoln Center
Film Society of Lincoln Center was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Advancing this mandate today, the Film Society hosts two distinguished festivals. The New York Film Festival annually premieres films from around the world and has introduced the likes of François Truffaut, R.W. Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Pedro Almodóvar, Martin Scorsese, and Wong Kar-Wai to the United States. New Directors/New Films, co-presented by the Museum of Modern Art, focuses on emerging film talents. Since 1972, when the Film Society honored Charles Chaplin, its annual Gala Tribute celebrates an actor or filmmaker who has helped distinguish cinema as an art form. Additionally, the Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming at its Walter Reade Theater and offers insightful film writing to a worldwide audience through Film Comment magazine. For more information, visit: www.FilmLinc.com
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from 42BELOW, Audi, American Airlines, GRAFF, The New York Times, Stella Artois, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts.
FOR MEDIA SPECIFIC INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:
The Jewish Museum
Anne Scher, Director of Communications,
& Alex Wittenberg, Communications Coordinator,
212.423.3271 - email@example.com
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Seth Hyman, Senior Publicist, 212.875.5625 - firstname.lastname@example.org
John Wildman, Senior Publicist, 323.600.3165 – email@example.com
The New York Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 12-27, 2011
Press Screening Schedule
Please join us for an advance press screening at The Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th St. close to Amsterdam Avenue, take the escalator, elevator or stairs to the upper level.
RSVP to Seth Hyman, 212.875.5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, Dec. 17
I Miss You / Te extraño
Fabián Hofman, Mexico/Argentina, 2010, 96m
The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground
Erik Greenberg Anjou, Germany/Hungary/Israel/Poland/USA, 2010, 106m
Monday, Dec. 20
Stalin Thought of You
Kevin McNeer, The Netherlands/Russia/USA, 2009, 100m
Eytan Harris, Israel, 2010, 78m
Tuesday, Jan. 4
Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish
Eve Annenberg, USA, 2010, 91m
Wednesday, Jan. 5
Thursday, Jan. 6