Jews and cinema go well together. It would be almost impossible to list all of the prominent Jewish directors in the history of cinema: Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, David Cronenberg, and Stanley Kubrick; Ernst Lubitsch, Darren Aronofsky, Mike Nichols, Mike Leigh, and Fritz Lang; Barbra Streisand, Billy Wilder – one could almost go on forever.
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Then there are the Jewish stars, such as Lauren Bacall, Dustin Hoffman and Winona Ryder; Paul Newman, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson - and Marilyn Monroe (thank you, Arthur Miller!), Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, and James Franco. And everyone knows that Jewish producers play a key role in the world film industry.
Nothing could be more natural therefore than to organize a film festival throwing the spotlight on the Jewish contribution to film, which began well before the Jews were given “The Ten Commandments” in 1956.
Since 1999, a Jewish film festival has been held in Jerusalem at the cinematheque in the nation’s capital. This 15th Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, which opens on November 30 and closes on December 6, will showcase dozens of films from Israel and the world, including documentary films, full-length feature films, short films and animated films.
In addition, there will be lectures, meetings with filmmakers and live Jewish musical events throughout the festival. A special feature of this year’s festival will be the screening of films from the archives of the Joan Sourasky-Constantiner Holocaust Multimedia Research Center of the Jerusalem Cinematheque – Israel Film Archive.
The festival’s opening event will be the showing of “Peace after Marriage,” which is being advertised by the festival’s organizers as an Israeli-Palestinian version of “Sex and the City” (if one can imagine such a cinematic creation). This event will also feature a performance by Jerusalemite violinist and singer Michel Greilsammer.
Other noteworthy events in this year’s film festival: the launch of the “Documentary Trilogy,” a large-scale project of preservation of three films on martyrdom and heroism during the Holocaust; an evening to honor promising Ethiopian-Jewish filmmakers in Israel; the screening of “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” (2013), a behind-the-scenes look at Bergdorf Goodman, the retail store located in Manhattan that is a world power in the realm of fashion; and, for the closing event, the showing of the Filipino film, “Transit,” a social drama about the children of foreign workers from the Philippines.
On December 5, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Polish director Agnieszka Holland and on December 3 there will be a conference (to which admission is free) on television and Jewish identity.
Among the films to be screened at this year’s festival: “The Real Inglorious Bastards” (Canada, 2012), “H.I. Jew Positive (Israel/Poland, 2013) and “Sounds from the Fog” (Germany, 2013).
The price of a ticket is NIS 38 with a booklet of 6 tickets selling for NIS 174. Jerusalem Cinematheque subscribers have free admission to all events. Students with student cards pay only NIS25 per film and there is a 2-for-1 special on all films screened at 5 P.M. A monthly subscription costs NIS 435. The box office is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. and on Friday from 10:00 A.M. to 2 P.M. It is a good idea to order tickets in advance through the Jerusalem Cinematheque website: http://jer-cin.org.il. Happy film-watching!