FSLC's 22nd Annual New York Jewish Film Festival to Run 1/9-1/24
The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center will present the 22nd annual New York Jewish Film Festival at the Film Society's Walter Reade Theater, Jan. 9-24, 2013. The festival's 45 features and shorts from 9 countries - 23 screening in their world, U.S. or New York premieres - provide a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience. Many film screenings will be followed by filmmakers and special guests in onstage discussions.
Wednesday, January 9
NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE
AKA Doc Pomus
Peter Miller, Will Hechter & Sharyn Felder | Canada/U.S. | 2012 | 99m
Doc Pomus' dramatic life is one of American music's great untold stories. Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus. He then emerged as a one of the most brilliant songwriters of the early rock and roll era, writing Save the Last Dance for Me, This Magic Moment, A Teenager in Love, Viva Las Vegas, and dozens of other hits. Spearheaded by his daughter Sharyn Felder and packed with incomparable music and rare archival imagery, this documentary features interviews with collaborators and friends including Dr. John, Ben E. King, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Dion, Leiber and Stoller, and B.B. King, as well as passages from Doc's private journals read by his close friend Lou Reed. Edited by Amy Linton.
Wed Jan 9: 3:15pm, 8:45pm
Thursday, January 24
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Margarethe von Trotta | Germany | 2012 | 110m | German and English with English subtitles
This biopic starring Barbara Sukowa covers a tumultuous four-year period in the life of the great philosopher and writer, Hannah Arendt. The film starts in New York at The New School, where Arendt taught after having escaped from a French detention camp and moves on to Jerusalem, where she covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann for The New Yorker. The German director Margarethe von Trotta makes stirring drama of the backlash against Arendt's writing about the trial and her "banality of evil" theory.
Thu Jan 24: 8:30pm
Elie Wajeman | France | 2012 | 90m | French with English subtitles
Alex desperately wants to move to Israel, scraping together money dealing drugs to get himself there and invest in his cousin's restaurant, while keeping his brother out of trouble and kibitzing with his large extended family on the gritty streets of northeast Paris. Auteur-in-the-making Elie Wajeman's stylish and brooding drama deftly draws out this story of a young man caught between family ties and his dream of a better life.
Tue Jan 15: 1:00pm
Sat Jan 19: 9:00pm
Daniel Burman | Argentina | 2012 | 113m | Spanish with English subtitles
A winning romantic comedy about a hot streak, a big bet, and the dangers of getting what you hoped for, Daniel Burman's All In is the story of Uriel, a professional gambler, single father, and Don Juan of the first rank. With his luck running at cards and with the ladies, Uriel decides to take the plunge and embark on a new life of freedom—he gets a vasectomy. Just as everything in his life seems to be coming together perfectly, Gloria, his old pre-marriage flame, returns to Buenos Aires after years abroad to turn his life on its head.
Wed Jan 23: 1:00pm, 6:00pm
The Art of Spiegelman
Clara Kuperberg & Joëlle Oosterlinck | France | 2010 | 43m | English & French with English subtitles
This intimate and homey portrait of the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and artist Art Spiegelman reveals him to be as witty, fascinating, and fiercely insightful in person as his extraordinary creative output would lead you to believe. Spiegelman evokes rich childhood memories and reflects on the evolution of his seminal work Maus, his development into a key figure in the underground comics movement, and more.
Slawomir Grunberg & Tomasz Wisniewski | Poland/U.S. | 2012 | 17m | Polish with English subtitles
A deeply moving short documentary about the desperate acts of condemned parents to save their children. ?apy was one of several stations in occupied Poland on the way to the Nazi death camp of Treblinka. Trains transporting Jews would slow down there and sometimes briefly stop while the tracks were being adjusted. Some parents managed to save small children by throwing them off the train; the last eyewitnesses to this story remember these times.
Mon Jan 21: 6:00pm
Tue Jan 22: 4:00pm
NEW YORK PREMIERE
The Ballad of the Weeping Spring
Beni Torati | Israel | 2012 | 105m | Hebrew with English subtitles
Twenty years after a car accident, for which he was held responsible, the legendary tar (lute) player Yosef Tawila is running a bar in northern Israel. The son of Avram, his bandmate, best friend, and another survivor from the crash, arrives with the news that his father is dying. He brings notations for The Weeping Springtime Symphony, a piece Yosef and Avram worked on together but never played. Yosef decides to reunite the remaining members of the band to grant his dying friend's final wish—and perhaps to heal his own tortured soul. This is a riveting drama with outstanding Mizrahi music.
Sat Jan 12: 9:00pm
Thu Jan 24: 3:30pm
The Black Cat and other tales
Edgar G. Ulmer | U.S. | 1934 | 65m
Film critic and author J. Hoberman introduces this special screening of the classic horror film directed by the versatile and prolific Edgar G. Ulmer. The Czech-born director made films in a wide range of genres, languages, and countries, including four Yiddish talkies in the second half of the 1930s, when living in New York. Set in a striking art deco mansion and starring Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff, The Black Cat includes satanic rituals, human sacrifice, and intrigue. Hoberman, author of Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema, will discuss and show clips from other works he considers compelling Jewish horror movies.
Thu Jan 17: 9:00pm
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Cabaret Berlin - The Wild Scene
Fabienne Rousso-Lenoir | France/Germany | 2010 | 70m | German with English subtitles
Built like a cabaret show and emceed by actor Ulrich Tukur, this mesmerizing and exuberant assemblage of archival film, sound, and visual culture offers a front row seat to the best show in town: Berlin's Weimar Republic cabaret scene, home to Europe's most innovative and experimental artists, writers, and musicians. Jewish entertainers played a leading role in the cabarets, and paid a hefty (and early) price for their wit and irreverence. Rousso-Lenoir's brilliantly conceived film is a tragic and beautiful love letter to a golden age of entertainment. It received the Yad Vashem Director's Choice Award and was produced by ARTE.
Mon Jan 21: 4:00pm
Tue Jan 22: 8:30pm
The Cutoff Man
Idan Hubel | Israel | 2012 | 76m | Hebrew with English subtitles
First-time writer/director Idan Hubel has crafted a poignant and compelling family drama around a down-on-his-luck man who takes up an unlikely profession—he cuts off the water supply to people who don't pay their bills. The more Gaby cuts off, the more money he makes; like a thief, he sneaks into backyards to do his dirty work, receiving the scorn of the neighborhood. This is a moving portrait of a man—played by multi-talented Moshe Ivgy—caught between the torment of his thankless task and the need to support his family.
Wed Jan 23: 3:45pm, 8:45pm
AN EVENING WITH THE SAFDIE BROTHERS
Shorts and Conversation
Acclaimed filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie present and discuss five shorts: There's Nothing You Can Do (4m), We're Going to the Zoo (14m), The Acquaintances of a Lonely John (14m), John's Gone (21m) and Black Balloon (20m). The brothers started making films at an early age and formed the collective Red Bucket Films while students at Boston University, eventually winning international recognition for their feature Daddy Longlegs, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Sun Jan 13: 6:00pm
Daddy Longlegs (AKA Get Some Rosemary)
Josh & Benny Safdie | U.S. | 2009 | 100m
34-year-old Lenny, with graying frazzled hair and wrapped up in the loneliness and freedom of a semi-directionless, solipsistic life, picks up his kids from school. This is his yearly two weeks with Sage, 9, and Frey, 7, and their time together is a jumble of lawless fun, strange visitors and adventurous excursions from Lenny's Midtown apartment. A madcap drama about a man pondering his relationship with his sons and wondering: am I their father, or their friend?
Sun Jan 13: 8:15pm
NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE
The Fifth Heaven
Dina Zvi-Riklis | Israel | 2011 | 103m | Hebrew with English subtitles
Set in 1944 in British-controlled Palestine, this beautifully realized coming-of-age drama, based on a book by Rachel Eytan, tells the story of Maya, a teenager deserted by her parents and deposited at an orphanage for Jewish girls on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. As she waits—along with the other children and their adult supervisors—for liberation from crushing isolation, a forbidden romance blooms that throws into sharp relief not only her own struggles but those of her fellow exiles and the land that receives them.
Thu Jan 17: 3:30pm
Sun Jan 20: 1:00pm
THE FILMS OF FRANCISZKA AND STEFAN THEMERSON
Various titles | Poland/U.K. | 1930s & ‘40s | Polish with English subtitles
Franciszka Themerson (1907-1988) and Stefan Themerson (1910-1988), perhaps the most influential of Polish experimental filmmakers, produced five films from 1930 to 1937 that rank with the greatest of the European avant-garde and helped to reveal film as a New Medium of personal and political expression. Equally noteworthy were two others shot in England during World War II for the Film Unit of the Polish Ministry of Information and Documentation in Exile. Of these seven, only the last three survived the war. This program will feature three surviving Themerson films from the 1930s & ‘40s (Adventures of a Good Citizen, Calling Mr. Smith and The Eye and the Ear) alongside remakes of two of those lost—Apteka (Pharmacy) and Moment Musical—by Bruce Checefsky, Director, Reinberger Galleries, Cleveland Institute of Art. Checefsky will introduce and discuss the films.
Sun Jan 20: 6:00pm
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Hava Nagila (The Movie)
Roberta Grossman | U.S. | 2012 | 73m
It has been covered by everyone from Bob Dylan to Elvis; it's one of the most infectious party songs ever written in any language; it's a Jewish staple that has transcended its origins and become a worldwide hit on the level of the bagel—it's Hava Nagila! This rollicking film follows the song's journey from the shtetls of Ukraine to Israel to the Catskills, Greenwich Village, Hollywood, Bollywood, and beyond, using it to explore Jewish history and identity and illuminate cross-cultural connections that only music can achieve. Hava Nagila (The Movie) features interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor, and many others.
Tue Jan 15: 6:00pm
NEW YORK PREMIERE
How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire
Daniel Edelstyn & Hilary Powell | U.K. | 2012 | 75m
Documentary filmmaker Dan Edelstyn grew up in Northern Ireland only vaguely aware of his ancestry, but the discovery of his grandmother's memoir inspires a quest to trace and reconnect with his Jewish Ukrainian roots. Edelstyn balances his personal journey with the story of his grandmother, giving voice to a highly educated cosmopolitan Jew from a merchant family fully integrated with the aristocracy of the day. The film's parallel narratives become a fascinating and layered exploration of a common theme: the desire for return and the rediscovery of heritage.
Jack Feldstein | U.S. | 2012 | 2m | Yiddish with English subtitles
On August 12th, 1952, 13 Yiddish poets and writers were murdered by Stalin's forces. This neon animation of Shards (Brokhshtiker), a Yiddish poem by Peretz Markish, one of those killed, was created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of that night.
Thu Jan 10: 3:30pm
Sat Jan 12: 6:30pm
NEW YORK PREMIERE
In Case I Never Win The Golden Palm
Renaud Cohen | France | 2011 | 82m | French with English subtitles
This delightfully self-referential satire is a feature by Renaud Cohen, who stars as Simon, a director who hasn't made a film in 10 years and has begun attending a support group for ex-filmmakers struggling to kick their addiction to film. When he shaves his head on a bet and discovers a cranial lump that may or may not be the beginning of the end, he leaps into production—and existential crisis—to make the only film he knows how: the one about the life he is living. Charming and self-effacing, the film turns angst into whimsy and humor in the best French tradition.
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Michal Lavi | Canada | 2012 | 7m
Based on a short story by the acclaimed Israeli writer Etgar Keret, Glue is a romantic modern fairytale that packs heavy doses of love, betrayal, and fantasy into a 7-minute story about a husband in need of awakening and his adventurous wife.
Sat Jan 19: 6:30pm
Mon Jan 21: 1:30pm
Joe Papp In Five Acts
Tracie Holder & Karen Thorsen | U.S. | 2012 | 84m
New York's indomitable, dashing, street-wise champion of the arts, who introduced interracial casting to the American stage, brought free Shakespeare to Central Park (not to mention Hair and A Chorus Line), and nurtured many of our greatest playwrights, directors, and actors, finally gets the proper spotlight. Using his life and work as its prism, Joe Papp in Five Acts explores the issues Papp championed: freedom of expression, democracy in the arts, and the definition of American culture. This documentary includes interviews with Olympia Dukakis, James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Larry Kramer, Martin Sheen, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, and others. A Production of The Papp Project, Thirteen's American Masters, and ITVS in association with WNET.
Mon Jan 14: 1:30pm, 6:00pm