Film Society of Lincoln Center Announces 2015 Jewish Film Festival

Film Society of Lincoln Center Announces 2015 Jewish Film Festival

The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of LINCOLN Center will present the 24th annual New York Jewish Film Festival at the Film Society's Walter Reade Theater and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, January 14-29, 2015. The festival's 47 features and shorts from 11 countries-21 screening in their world, U.S., or New York premieres-provide a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience.

The festival includes a number of "beyond the screen" programs, including a presentation of the work of artist Keren Cytter followed by a discussion with Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, the Jewish Museum; continuous screenings of trailers from films noirs; an EXHIBITION of posters for antiwar movies; a midnight showing of the 1980s break-dancing hit, Breakin'; Talking Movies, panel discussions about Zionism and antiwar films; a master class on filmmaking with Susan Korda; and a special screening of the late Mike Nichols's 1996 comedy, The Birdcage. A 25th-anniversary screening of Jennie Livingston's Paris Is Burning will be accompanied by two other films selected by the director.

The festival opens on Wednesday, January 14 with the U.S. premiere of Asaf Galay and Shaul Betser's The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer. The Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer was a charming enchanter both on the page and in his romantic life. This surprising and unflinching documentary explores, through poignant interviews and exclusive archival footage, the Unknown history of one of his most vital sources of creative inspiration: his translators. Dozens of women throughout Singer's life worked with him to open the doors to his singular Yiddish prose for the rest of the world to enjoy, and his relationships with many of them blurred the lines between the professional and the intimate.

Closing Night on January 29 will feature the U.S. premiere of Maxime Giroux's Felix and Meira. In the Mile End neighborhood of Montréal, hipsters and Hasidim coexist amicably but independently. When Meira, an Orthodox Jewish wife and mother with an undercurrent of rebelliousness, meets Felix, a middle-aged atheist adrift without family ties, a slow-blooming affair takes shape that will present Meira with a difficult fork in the road.

Three films in the festival touch on Israel, past and present. Israel's 2014 Foreign Language Oscar submission and a New York City premiere, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is adapted from A TRUE STORY of an Orthodox woman who has spent five years in a legal stalemate fighting for a divorce that, according to religious law, requires her husband's consent. Ronit Elkabetz (who co-directed with her brother Shlomi Elkabetz) delivers an unforgettable performance in the lead role. The Zionist Idea, receiving its world premiere, is a feature-length exploration of one of the most influential, controversial, and urgently relevant political ideologies of the modern era. Directed by Joseph Dorman (Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness) and Oren Rudavsky (A Life Apart: Hasidism in America), the film examines the meaning, history and future of Zionism at this crucial time. A panel discussion will take place in conjunction with the film on January 25. Roberta Grossman's Above and Beyond, produced by Nancy Spielberg, presents the story of a group of Jewish American fighter pilots who returned to the battlefield during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. This documentary combines interviews with stunning footage taken from their planes.

Five films focus on various aspects of the Holocaust and its repercussions. Let's Go!, directed by Michael Verhoeven (The Nasty Girl) and a U.S. premiere, artfully presents a biting commentary on post-World War II German society in an adaptation of Laura Waco's autobiographical novel. Overcome with grief at her father's funeral in 1968, Laura looks back with fresh eyes at her parents' decision to settle in Germany after surviving the Holocaust. In Forbidden Films, receiving its New York premiere, Felix Moeller brings viewers into a vaulted, explosive-resistant compound where 40 incendiary Nazi propaganda films are kept, banned from public viewing; and interviews renowned film historians and filmmakers who debate the importance of these "Nazi movies of the poison cabinet" asking: Are they worth keeping? Do we need to show them? How do we approach this dark legacy? Acclaimed director Amos Gitai's Tsili, receiving its U.S. premiere, adapts Aharon Appelfeld's novel about a young Jewish woman hiding in the forests south of Czernowicz, her world and family having been ripped away, and her subsequent wandering and search for meaning following the war. Dieter Reifarth's The Tugendhat House, also a U.S. premiere, examines the history of one of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's earliest prototypes of modernist architecture in Europe. Built for a Jewish family by the name of Tugendhat in 1930, it was abandoned during the Nazi occupation, only to resurface in the ensuing decades as a therapy center, a ballet school, and a school for children with scoliosis. In Natan, investigative documentarians David Cairns and Paul Duane reveal the forgotten life of Bernard Natan, a Romanian Jew who fought for France in World War I and became the head of the innovative and influential Pathé studios, only to die forgotten during the Holocaust and almost ERASED from the history of French film.

Three films examine Jews and the world of entertainment. The Outrageous Sophie Tucker, directed by William Gazecki and receiving its New York premiere, looks at the life of the so-called "Queen of Vaudeville," theater, radio, and television icon Sophie Tucker. Born in Russia into a poor Jewish family in 1887, her campaign to capture Hollywood's heart is a marvelous rags-to-riches story. In How to Break Into Yiddish Vaudeville, a world premiere short, animator Jack Feldstein uses his trademark style of "neonizing" (manipulating video into a kaleidoscopic color palette that resembles classic American neon signs) to whimsically document the cutthroat world of New York City burlesque theater. Hilla Medalia's The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films, a New York premiere, revisits the lives and careers of Israeli cousins Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus, who took over the failing Cannon Films studio and forged a new business model by producing films with shlocky scripts, ranging from action thrillers like Death Wish II to musicals such as Breakin', and even collaborations with auteur filmmakers like Andrei Konchalovsky and Jean-Luc Godard. The film features interviews with Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and other B-movie talent, as well as Golan and Globus. The festival will present a Saturday midnight screening of Breakin' on January 17.

The festival also includes three features receiving New York premieres. In Yossi Aviram's The Dune, a 65-year-old Parisian police officer, weary of his long career, meets a mysterious and spiritually motivated younger man, triggering a bizarre sequence of events that shapes both of their futures. The cast includes noted French actor Mathieu Amalric (The Grand Budapest Hotel). In Susan Korda's slice-of-life drama Salomea's Nose, the title character remembers THE DAY her beloved brothers disfigured her and themselves for life with one clumsy act. At just under 23 minutes, the film, featuring Barbara Sukowa (Hannah Arendt) as the voice of Salomea, offers a delightfully ambiguous thesis about fate and family dynamics. In Hugo Gelin's Like Brothers, a successful entrepreneur in his forties, a cynical screenwriter in his thirties, and a young man on the cusp of adulthood are brought together by the untimely death of the woman they all love. Reeling with grief after her funeral, they embark on a spontaneous trip together to a summer cabin in Corsica-a trip she originally planned for all of them-which becomes a journey of both tribute and discovery.

Two additional features will be screened. Director Daniel Burman's wistful comedy The Mystery of Happiness is part buddy movie, part detective story, and part romance. Life-long business partners Santiago and Eugenio understand each other without words, care for each other, and need each other. When Eugenio vanishes without a clue, Santiago and Eugenio's wife Laura join forces to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Alexey Fedorchenko's colorful Angels of Revolution, receiving its U.S. premiere, tells the story of five cosmopolitan artists, led by a famed Communist revolutionary, searching for answers during a clash of cultures now known as the Great Samoyedic War in 1930s Siberia.

Three documentaries round out the main slate. Guy Natanel and Annie Sulzberger's The King of Nerac, receiving its world premiere, is a thoughtful portrait of David Breuer Weil, a modern day Gauguin who gave up a career as one of the world's leading art dealers to embark on a life of creativity and contemplation as an artist known for his vast, apocalyptic canvases and his colossal, dynamic sculptures that dominate public spaces around the world from London to Jerusalem. Yossi Aviram's documentary The Polgar Variant (U.S. premiere) follows the travels of the Polgár sisters, groomed by their father Lázló to become chess champions. From their childhood in 1970s Communist Budapest to today, the family's tale continues to make shock waves in the press. Erik Greenberg Anjou's Deli Man, a New York premiere, is a portrait of the effusive and charming Ziggy Gruber, a Texan and third-generation delicatessen man who currently operates one of the country's most acclaimed delis, Kenny and Ziggy's in Houston. The documentary sheds light on the larger story of Jews in America-immigration, upward mobility, and food-and features interviews with Larry King, Jerry Stiller, and foodies sharing memories of pastrami.


SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

ARTIST FOCUS: KEREN CYTTER
The New York Jewish Film Festival will present an Artist Focus on Israeli artist Keren Cytter. Cytter uses visual media in strikingly original ways to build powerful and affecting narratives out of skewed scenes of EVERYDAY life. Her films, video installations, and drawings represent social realities through experimental modes of storytelling characterized by a nonlinear, cyclical logic and multiple layers of images: conversation, monologue, and narration systematically composed to undermine linguistic conventions and traditional interpretation schemata. Recalling amateur home movies and video diaries, these montages of impressions, memories, and imaginings are poetic and self-referential in composition, thought provoking, and inescapably engrossing. This special program will include four works by Cytter and a discussion moderated by Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, the Jewish Museum, and Curator for Special Programs, New York Jewish Film Festival.

FREE SHORTS
Four new short films will be shown to the public for free. German Shepherd is an animated work that poses difficult questions about our capacity to forgive unimaginable acts of evil in relation to one man's vision of Germany (and Germans). In Longing, a young wife confronts her husband's ABSENCE and the deterioration in the intimacy between them, with suspicions arising about his true identity. Some Vacation is a comic tale of what goes wrong when Dad decides to take THE FAMILY along on his business road trips and calls them vacations. In The Visit, a young woman visits a friend in his neighborhood in Brooklyn, where disagreements about how to spend their time together soon escalate into a larger conflict.

FROM THE VAULTS
Three archival films will screen at this year's festival. D.W. Griffith's A Child of the Ghetto (1910) receives the New York premiere of a new restoration. World-renowned banjo player Alison Brown will provide a live accompaniment to this classic, a documentary-like short tale of a woman's innocent crime in New York's bustling Lower East Side and her subsequent escape to the country and romance with a young farmer. Experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison's Back to the Soil consists of 1,000 feet of 16mm film shot by Morrison's grandfather in 1927 and newly edited by Morrison, documenting an era when the Soviet government offered over 2.5 million acres of FARMLAND in the Ukraine, Belarus, and Crimea to former merchants whose work had been outlawed under Communist rule. Ernst Lubitsch's Three Women, also receiving the New York premiere of a new restoration, is a saucy melodrama starring May McAvoy (The Jazz Singer) as an 18-year-old in a dizzying, whirlwind triangle between her estranged socialite mother and a weasel-like suitor who, after getting a whiff of May's trust fund, stays true to his cad nature by wooing the young dame. The rollicking score will be provided through live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin.

GUEST SELECTS: JENNIE LIVINGSTON
The New York Jewish Film Festival presents a "Guest Selects" series, each year showcasing a director who has shaped the course of film history. The series begins with a special screening of Jennie Livingston's Paris Is Burning on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its release. Livingston has also selected two accompanying films that relate to Jewish culture: Alan J. Paluka's Academy Award-winning Sophie's Choice, starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline; and Stanley Kubrick's provocative black comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott. Livingston's iconic documentary Paris Is Burning offers a dazzling, dynamic, and intimate portrait of 1980s Harlem drag balls, where rival fashion "houses" competed for trophies and cash prizes in categories like "face," "femme queen realness" and "voguing." Winner of a Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Paris Is Burning celebrates how African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender New Yorkers, for whom racism, poverty, and homophobia were daily struggles, created a world of sustenance and joy.

MIDNIGHT MOVIE
The festival will present a special Saturday midnight showing of Joel Silberg's Breakin', which helped to bring break dancing to the forefront of mainstream American pop culture. Dated but very entertaining, the 1984 film tells the tale of a struggling jazz dancer who, with the help of street-dancing friends, becomes the new sensation of the crowds, despite disapproval from her dance instructor and the bitter rivalry from another crew. A variety of hybrid breakthrough performances, plus a fantastic soundtrack that included Ollie and Jerry's "There's No Stopping Us" and Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," made Breakin' a major success for Cannon Films.

REVIVAL: THE BIRDCAGE
This 1996 adaptation of the iconic French farce La Cage aux Folles, directed by the late Mike Nichols, brings a Jewish twist to the 1978 French-Italian film and the original 1973 stage play. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star as a flamboyant South Beach couple whose straight son brings his fiancée and her ultraconservative gentile parents to dinner. Williams and Lane transform into a happy straight couple for the occasion, with Lane in drag and their Jewish identity hidden. The cast also includes Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, and Hank Azaria.

NEW YORK NOIR (1945 - 1948)
New York was a frequent setting for films embracing the cinematic style that came to be defined as film noir. Starting with Henry Hathaway's The House on 92nd Street, a twisted tale of Nazi espionage, directors interwove documentary techniques into the storytelling, wanting to "film where it actually happened." These films portrayed the city as a postwar Gotham with endless crime and intrigue. Other films to be screened include Robert Siodmak's Cry of the City, about former childhood friends who confront each other as cop and cop-killer; and Jules Dassin's The Naked City, depicting a police investigation of the murder of a young model in her Upper West Side apartment.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: ART OF THE FILM NOIR TRAILER
Many trailers for films noirs during the 1940s and 1950s, featuring rapid cuts, provocative narration, and dramatic scenarios, were practically films in and of themselves. In homage to the genre and its many talents, the festival will present a 30-minute compilation of noir and neo-noir trailers that will run on a continuous loop in the amphitheater of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center during the festival. Films from such directors as Jules Dassin, Samuel Fuller, Stanley Kubrick, Fritz Lang, Jean-Pierre Melville, Robert Siodmak, and Billy Wilder will be included.

WAR AGAINST WAR: SCREENINGS AND POSTER EXHIBITION
War Against War is a series of antiwar films made mostly during the 1950s and 1960s. The film series is accompanied by a small EXHIBITION of film posters for historically important antiwar films in the Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater. With wars raging in many parts of the world, from Eastern Europe and the Middle East to East Africa and Central Asia, we seem to live in a time of constant war. Antiwar films have, in various ways, been able to capture the horrors of war and the physical and mental destruction war causes within humans, both soldiers and civilians. The films selected focus less on dramatic spectacles of warfare. Rather, they depict the horrors of war through inner turmoil, surreal plots, and the soul-searching of its characters.

Six films will be featured in the series. Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers, based on occurrences during the Algerian War (1954-62) and focusing on the brutal Battle of Algiers, is regarded as among the most disturbing and yet impactful anti-war films made in the 1960s. Fear and Desire (1953), the first feature film by celebrated director Stanley Kubrick and his least-seen work, follows a group of soldiers that survived a plane crash behind enemy lines wandering around in a forest in an unidentified war, seeming to get more and more surreal as they try to return to their own troops. Kon Ichikawa's Fires on the Plain, the story of a Japanese soldier suffering from tuberculosis at the end of World War II, depicts the struggle of life and death in the highly irrational and dehumanizing experience that is war. Konrad Wolf's I Was Nineteen is based on the director's own service during World War II arriving with Soviet troops to fight in the battle of Berlin at the age of 19. The film's narrative structure, the style of editing and camera movement, the dialogue and the acting are highly progressive for the time and seem closely related to the ideas employed by the directors of the French Nouvelle Vague. Jean-Luc Godard's Les Carabiniers is among the most surreal, grotesque, and disturbing antiwar movies ever made. Set in a fictional country and at unspecified time, two simple-minded peasants receive a letter from their king that promises them riches and grants them complete liberty regarding any kind of crime if they join the army to fight in an unnamed war. As the war progresses their actions become more and more inhuman yet they remain poor, lose the war and are, to their surprise, executed for their crimes. The War Game, written and directed by Peter Watkins, was originally to be presented as a television film by the BBC but taken off the schedule as it was deemed too disturbing for TV audiences. Presented to the public in a number of organized screenings and shown abroad, it did not air on the BBC until 20 years later but won the Academy Award for best Documentary Feature in 1967.


This year's New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Florence Almozini, Senior Programmer, Film Society of LINCOLN Center; Rachel Chanoff, THE OFFICE performing arts + film; Jaron Gandelman, Curatorial Assistant for Media, Jewish Museum and Coordinator, New York Jewish Film Festival; Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, Jewish Museum and Curator for Special Programs, New York Jewish Film Festival; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator, Jewish Museum and Director, New York Jewish Film Festival.

The New York Jewish Film Festival is made possible by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media. Generous support is also provided by Mimi and Barry Alperin, The Liman Foundation, and through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Most 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. Coming Attractions: Art of the Film Noir Trailer, the free Shorts screenings, and the Talking Movies panel discussions will take place at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway.

NYJFF tickets will go on sale Tuesday, December 23. A pre-sale to Film Society and the Jewish Museum members will begin Tuesday, December 16 at noon. Tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society and Jewish Museum members. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the Film Society's Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and Walter Reade Theater box offices, 144 & 165 West 65th Street. For our free event ticket policy and complete festival information, visit www.NYJFF.org.


FILM DESCRIPTIONS & SCHEDULE

Opening Night
The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer
Asaf Galay & Shaul Betser, Israel, 2014, 72m
English, Hebrew, and Yiddish with English subtitles
Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer was a charming enchanter both on the page and in his romantic life. This surprising and unflinching documentary explores, through poignant interviews and exclusive archival footage, the Unknown history of one of his most vital sources of creative inspiration: his translators. Dozens of women throughout Singer's life worked with him to open the doors to his singular Yiddish prose for the rest of the world to enjoy, and his relationships with many of them blurred the lines between the professional and the personal. This is their story, and his-as well as a story of the arts of literature, translation, love, and life itself. U.S. Premiere
Wednesday, January 14, 4:00pm & 8:45pm (Q&A with Asaf Galay and Shaul Betser at both screenings)

Closing Night
Felix and Meira
Maxime Giroux, Canada, 2014, 105m
French, English, and Yiddish with English subtitles
In the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal, hipsters and Hasidim coexist amicably but independently. When Meira, an Orthodox wife and mother with an undercurrent of rebelliousness, meets Felix, a middle-aged atheist adrift without family ties, a slow-booming affair takes shape that will present Meira with a difficult fork in the road. Felix and Meira unfolds like a classic forbidden-love novel, stylized by cinematographer Sara Mishara's shadowy, underlit lensing and set on overcast wintery streets. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release. U.S. Premiere
Thursday, January 29, 3:30pm & 9:00pm (Q&A with Maxime Giroux at both screenings)

Above and Beyond
Roberta Grossman, USA, 2014, 86m
English and Hebrew with English subtitles
In 1948, as Europe reassembled itself in the wake of total war, a small group of Jewish-American fighter pilots returned to the battlefield for a new cause. The Israeli War of Independence was underway, and despite tremendous weariness and personal risk, these men smuggled U.S. planes behind the Iron Curtain to train and fight-all while evading a watchful FBI. Above and Beyond combines their interviews with stunning footage from the planes, poetically tracing the journey from hometown to homeland.
Thursday, January 22, 6:00pm (Q&A with Roberta Grossman and producer Nancy Spielberg)

Angels of Revolution
Alexey Fedorchenko, Russia, 2014, 113m
Russian and Khanty with English subtitles
When Stalin built a town in northern USSR on the land of indigenous shamans in the 1930s, he mistakenly generated a landmark collision of cultures now known as the Great Samoyedic War. Russian avant-gardists from the South, attracted to the ideals of Ancient Paganism and eager to reconcile them with a Soviet utopia, trekked up to the banks of the Amnya River to take part in the conflict. This colorful film by Alexey Fedorchenko (First on the Moon, Silent Souls) tells the story of five cosmopolitan friends, led by the famous "Polina the Revolutionary," searching for answers. U.S. Premiere
Tuesday, January 27, 3:30pm & 9:00pm

Deli Man
Erik Greenberg Anjou, USA, 2014, 91m
Shalom, y'all. Deli Man is a portrait of the effusive and charming Ziggy Gruber, a Texan, Yiddish-speaking, third-generation delicatessen man who currently operates one of the country's most acclaimed delis, Kenny and Ziggy's in Houston. The history of THE FAMILY business (and, indeed, the history of the American deli) sheds light on a larger story of Jews in America-immigration, upward mobility, and Western assimilation. But how much of the rich tradition of Jewish life is lost amid all these achievements? A Cohen Media Group release. New York Premiere
Thursday, January 15, 1:00pm & 6:00pm (Q&A with Erik Greenberg Anjou at both screenings)

The Dune
Yossi Aviram, France/Israel, 2013, 90m
French and Hebrew with English subtitles
Ruben (Niels Arestrup) is a 65-year-old Parisian growing weary of a long career in the police force. When he meets a mysterious and spiritually motivated younger man by the name of Hanoch (Lior Ashkenazi), a bizarre sequence of events are set in motion that will shape both of their futures. The Dune is an elegant and understated piece of fiction, equal parts mystery and family drama, meditating on the consequences of choosing a particular path at life's crossroads. New York Premiere
Thursday, January 15, 3:30pm (Q&A with Yossi Aviram)
Sunday, January 18, 3:30pm (Q&A with Yossi Aviram)

Forbidden Films
Felix Moeller, German, 2013, 94m
Hebrew, English, German, and French with English subtitles
The Nazi regime produced over 1,200 feature films, mostly political propaganda, a handful of which were crafted specifically to engender anti-Semitism among the masses. Of these hideous artifacts, 40 remain banned from public viewing to this day for their incendiary content. In Forbidden Films, director Felix Moeller brings us into the vaulted, explosive-resistant compound where the reels are kept and then interviews renowned film historians and filmmakers who debate the importance of these "Nazi movies of the poison cabinet": are they worth keeping? Do we need to show them? How do we approach this dark legacy? A Zeitgeist Films release. New York Premiere
Thursday, January 22, 3:15pm (Q&A with Felix Moeller)
Sunday, January 25, 3:30pm (Q&A with Felix Moeller)

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz, Israel/France/Germany, 2014, 115m
Hebrew and French with English subtitles
Israel's Foreign Language Oscar submission, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is a dramatic adaptation of a harrowing true story set in a Mizrahi Orthodox enclave in Israel. The title HEROINE has spent five years in a stalemate fighting for a divorce that, according to religious law, requires her husband's full consent. As he continues to refuse, Viviane fears that her life may never proceed freely, and the courtroom struggles grow increasingly surreal. Ronit Elkabetz (who co-directed with her brother) delivers an unforgettable performance in the lead role. A Music Box Films release. New York City Premiere
Wednesday, January 21, 3:15pm & 9:00pm (Q&A with Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz at both screenings)

The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films
Hilla Medalia, Israel/France, 2014, 86m
Hebrew and English with English subtitles
Purveyors of 1980s Hollywood B-movies, Israeli cousins Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus took over a failing Cannon Films studio in 1979 and forged a new business model by producing films with groundbreakingly shlocky scripts. They became known mostly for action-thrillers like Death Wish 2 and Exterminator 2, but the group's output was far more diverse, including collaborations with auteur filmmakers like Andrei Konchalovsky and Jean-Luc Godard. The Go-Go Boys pays tribute to a special time in moviemaking and features a range of interviews with Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, and other B-movie talent, as well as the Israeli duo themselves. A Menemsha Films release. New York Premiere
Thursday, January 29, 1:00pm & 6:15pm

The King of Nerac
Guy Natanel & Annie Sulzberger, UK/Denmark, 2013, 76m
David Breuer-Weil's vast, apocalyptic canvases stare unflinchingly at the horrors of 20th-century history, and his colossal, dynamic sculptures dominate public spaces around the world from London to Jerusalem. This pure and meditative film takes advantage of unique access to illuminate a thoughtful portrait of its fascinating, reclusive subject: a modern-day Gauguin who gave up a career as one of the world's leading art dealers to embark on a life of creativity and contemplation. World Premiere
Tuesday, January 20, 9:00pm (Q&A with Guy Natanel, Annie Sulzberger, and producer Paul Goldin)
Wednesday, January 21, 1:00pm (Q&A with Guy Natanel, Annie Sulzberger, and producer Paul Goldin)

Let's Go!
Michael Verhoeven, Germany, 2014, 90m
German with English subtitles
Director Michael Verhoeven, the "nasty boy" of German cinema, artfully presents a biting commentary on postwar German society in this adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Laura Waco. Overcome with grief at her father's funeral in 1968, Laura looks back with fresh eyes at her parents' decision to settle in Germany after surviving the Holocaust-at their incapacity to escape the shadow of the genocide, their denial of their own Judaism, and the deeply conflicted psychology that was the legacy of their plight and others like them. The film is a beautifully wrought, subtly probing investigation of the complex notion of German-Jewish identity. U.S. Premiere
Saturday, January 24, 9:30pm (Q&A with Michael Verhoeven)
Tuesday, January 27, 1:00pm (Q&A with Michael Verhoeven)

Like Brothers
Hugo Gelin, France, 2012, 104m
French with English subtitles
A successful entrepreneur in his forties, a cynical screenwriter in his thirties, and a young man on the cusp of adulthood still living with his parents are brought together by the untimely death of the woman they all love. Reeling with grief after her funeral, they embark on a spontaneous trip together to a summer cabin in Corsica-a trip she originally planned for all of them-that becomes a journey of both tribute and discovery. A box-office sensation in France, Like Brothers is funny, charming, and poignant in equal measure, and bittersweet as only a French road movie about friendship, love, and longing can be. New York Premiere
Wednesday, January 14, 1:00pm & 6:00pm

The Mystery of Happiness
Daniel Burman, Argentina/Brazil, 2014, 92m
Spanish with English subtitles
Argentinean director Daniel Burman's wistful comedy is part buddy movie, part detective story, and part romance. Longtime business partners Santiago and Eugenio understand each other without words, care for each other, and need each other. When Eugenio vanishes without a clue, Santiago and Eugenio's wife Laura join forces to solve the mystery of his disappearance. What they discover is neither what they set out to find nor what you would expect, and their shared journey becomes a surprising and lighthearted meditation on friendship, love, and loyalty. A Strand Releasing release.
Saturday, January 17, 7:00pm
Wednesday, January 28, 1:00pm

Natan
David Cairns & Paul Duane, Ireland, 2013, 67m
French and English with English subtitles
Bernard Natan, a Romanian Jew who fought for France in World War I and went on to become one of the true giants of early cinema as the head of the innovative and influential Pathé Studios, died forgotten during the Holocaust and has been almost completely ERASED from the history of French film. Why and how? Investigative documentarians David Cairns and Paul Duane excavate these questions with creative and determined vigor, and the tale they reveal-of silent-era pornography, false accusations, academic collusion, and anti-Semitism that persists to this day-is as unbelievable as it is tragic.
Screening with:
How to Break Into Yiddish Vaudeville
Jack Feldstein, USA, 2014, 19m
English and Yiddish with English subtitles
New York-via-Sydney animator Jack Feldstein has developed a trademark style of "neonizing," whereby he manipulates video into a kaleidoscopic color palette that resembles classic American neon signs. In his latest offering, Feldstein uses a combination of neonized public-domain found footage and live-action video to whimsically document the cutthroat world of NYC burlesque theater. World Premiere
Wednesday, January 28, 3:15pm & 8:45pm (Q&A with David Cairns at both screenings)

The Outrageous Sophie Tucker
William Gazecki, USA, 2014, 96m
Spend an evening winding through the many personalities of the so-called "Queen of Vaudeville": theater, radio, and television icon Sophie Tucker. Born in Russia into a poor Jewish family in 1887, her campaign to capture Hollywood's heart is one of the most marvelous rags-to-riches stories of the century. The hallmark styles of Mae West, Bette Midler, and even Madonna all find some roots in Tucker's brassy nonchalance, and The Outrageous Sophie Tucker captures it all, with the help of 400 newly discovered scrapbooks that belonged to the Queen herself. A Menemsha Films release. New York Premiere
Tuesday, January 20, 1:00pm (Q&A with William Gazecki and producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker)
Sunday, January 25, 6:00pm (Q&A with William Gazecki and producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker)

The Polgar Variant
Yossi Aviram, Israel, 2014, 68m
Hebrew, English, and Hungarian with English subtitles
Motivated by his firm belief that "geniuses are made, not born," László Polgár spent his meager earnings in 1970s communist Budapest grooming his three daughters to become chess champions. Despite no schooling and near-total isolation from the outside world, his hard-nosed training paid dividends, and the young heroines would become a worldwide media sensation. The Polgar Variant follows the travels of the three sisters, from their birthplace to their current homes in Hungary, the U.S., and Canada, where the family's extreme tale continues to make shock waves in the press. U.S. Premiere
Screening with:
Salomea's Nose
Susan Korda, USA/Germany, 2014, 22m
German and English with English subtitles
Salomea remembers THE DAY her beloved brothers, Max and Karl, disfigured her and themselves for life with one clumsy act. Their mother calls it "The Day of the Tragedy," but in Salomea's Nose the circumstances surrounding the event are spun into tragicomedy about sibling rivalry. At just under 23 minutes, this slice-of-life drama offers a delightfully ambiguous thesis about fate and family dynamics. New York Premiere
Thursday, January 15, 8:30pm (Q&A with Yossi Aviram)
Thursday, January 22, 1:00pm (Q&A with Susan Korda)

Tsili
Amos Gitai, Israel/Russia/Italy/France, 2014, 88m
Yiddish, Ukrainian, Polish, German, and Russian with English subtitles
Of his 1982 book Tzili: The Story of a Life, the Romanian-Israeli novelist and survivor Aharon Appelfeld told Philip Roth: "The reality of the Holocaust surpassed any imagination. If I remained true to the facts, no one would believe me. But THE MOMENT I chose a girl, a little older than I was at that time, I removed 'the story of my life' from the mighty grip of memory and gave it over to the creative laboratory." This adaptation of Appelfeld's powerful book gives fresh intimacy and urgency to the story of a young Jewish woman hiding in the Ukrainian forests south of Chernivitsi, her world and family having been ripped away, and her subsequent wandering and search for meaning following the war. U.S. Premiere
Screening with:
Back to the Soil
Bill Morrison, USA, 2014, 18m
Experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison has spent his 20-year career recovering and reassembling decaying bits of archival film footage into new works, with results that range from haunting to kaleidoscopic. In his new 18-minute film Back to the Soil, the source material is 1,000 feet of 16mm film shot by Morrison's grandfather in 1927, documenting an era when the Soviet government offered over 2.5 million acres of FARMLAND in the Ukraine, Belarus, and Crimea to former merchants whose work had been outlawed under Communist rule.
Monday, January 19, 3:30pm (Q&A with Amos Gitai)
Tuesday, January 20, 3:30pm (Q&A with Amos Gitai)

The Tugendhat House
Dieter Reifarth, Germany, 2013, 112m
German, Czech, and English with English subtitles
On the crest of a hill looking out over Brno, Czech Republic, stands a magnificent concrete building, one of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's earliest prototypes of modernist architecture in Europe. Built for a Jewish family by the name of Tugendhat in 1930, it was fled and abandoned during the Nazi occupation, only to resurface in the ensuing decades as a therapy center, a ballet academy, and a school for children suffering from scoliosis. The Tugendhat House zooms in on the many rises and falls of this great structure, and the cultures that have developed in its midst. U.S. Premiere
Wednesday, January 28, 6:00pm (Q&A with producer Filipp Goldscheider)

The Zionist Idea
Joseph Dorman & Oren Rudavsky, USA, 2014, 160m
Hebrew, Arabic, and English with English subtitles
The Zionist Idea is a feature-length exploration of one of the most influential, controversial, and urgently relevant political ideologies of the modern era. With origins in late-19th-century Europe, Zionism was born out of the Jewish confrontation with modernity along with the renewed persecution of Jews throughout Europe. Now, amid unceasing religious conflicts in the Middle East, it is crucial for Americans to better understand the meaning, history, and future of the movement. World Premiere
Thursday, January 22, 8:30pm (Q&A with Joseph Dorman & Oren Rudavsky)
Monday, January 26, 8:15pm (Q&A with Joseph Dorman & Oren Rudavsky)


Special Programs

Artist Focus: Keren Cytter
Israeli artist Keren Cytter uses visual media in strikingly original ways to build powerful and affecting narratives out of skewed scenes of EVERYDAY life. Cytter's films, video installations, and drawings represent social realities through experimental modes of storytelling characterized by a nonlinear, cyclical logic and multiple layers of images: conversation, monologue, and narration systematically composed to undermine linguistic conventions and traditional interpretation schemata. Recalling amateur home movies and video diaries, these montages of impressions, memories, and imaginings are poetic and self-referential in composition, thought-provoking, and inescapably engrossing.
Tuesday, January 27, 6:15pm (Keren Cytter in attendance)

Free Shorts
TRT: 44m

German Shepherd
Nils Bergendal, Sweden, 10m
As a Jew growing up in Baltimore, David's vision of Germany (and Germans) was shaped by the stories of his Holocaust-survivor mother; later in life, he reflects on whether it is possible to overcome this history. Stylistically simple yet philosophically potent, this animated documentary poses difficult questions about our capacity to forgive unimaginable acts of evil.

Longing
Nadav Mishali, Israel, 20m
Hebrew with English subtitles
Every month Michal dips herself in the Mikveh and dreams of her husband-but when the long-awaited night arrives, bupkis. His ABSENCE and the deterioration of their intimacy awakens suspicions about his true identity.

Some Vacation
Anne S. Lewis, USA, 6m
What could possibly go wrong when Dad decides to take THE FAMILY along on his business road trips and call them vacations? Everything!

The Visit
Lawrence Horwitz, USA, 8m
English and Yiddish with English subtitles
When Esther pays a friend a visit in his neighborhood in Brooklyn, disagreements about how to spend their time together soon escalate into a much larger conflict.
*Saturday, January 17, 8:00pm
*Saturday, January 24, 8:00pm
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Amphitheater

From the Vaults

Three Women
Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1924, 35mm, 84m
Silent with live piano accompaniment
Among the great silents that Lubitsch touched is this saucy melodrama starring May McAvoy (The Jazz Singer, Ben-Hur) as an 18-year-old in a dizzying, whirlwind triangle between her estranged socialite mother and a weasel-like suitor who, after getting a whiff of May's trust fund, stays true to his cad nature by wooing the young dame. Often favoring devastating facial expressions to convey the story's soapy twists and turns over expository intertitles, Three Women is a nimble, nuanced, and surprising dose of Lubitsch movie magic. From THE COLLECTION of the George Eastman House. New York Premiere of New Restoration
Sunday, January 18, 1:00pm

Guest Selects: Jennie Livingston

Paris Is Burning - 25th Anniversary Screening!
Jennie Livingston, USA, 1990, 35mm, 71m
Jennie Livingston's iconic documentary offers an at once dazzling, dynamic, and intimate portrait of the Harlem drag balls of the 1980s, where rival fashion "houses" competed for trophies and cash prizes in categories like "face," "femme queen realness," and "voguing." Winner of a Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Paris Is Burning celebrates how African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender New Yorkers, for whom racism, poverty, and homophobia were daily realities, created a world of survival and joy.
Saturday, January 17, 9:15pm (Introduction by Jennie Livingston)

Jennie Livingston Selects: Sophie's Choice
Alan J. Pakula, UK/USA, 1982, DCP, 151m
English, Polish, German, French, and Russian with English subtitles
Sophie is a survivor of Nazi concentration camps who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the movie's narrator, a young American writer fresh to New York City. But Sophie and Nathan's happiness is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions. With stellar performances by Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, Sophie's Choice won five Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Actress.
Sunday, January 18, 6:00pm (Introduction by Jennie Livingston)

Jennie Livingston Selects: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Stanley Kubrick, USA/UK, 1964, DCP, 95m
Producer/director Stanley Kubrick's brilliant satire is a provocative black comedy that remains unmatched as a doomsday fantasy of Cold War politics. Built around an inadvertent preemptive nuclear attack and featuring never-funnier turns by Peter Sellers, James Earl Jones, George C. Scott, and the unstoppable Slim Pickens, this landmark film was an intelligent, biting, and unhinged Monty Python-esque response to the apocalyptic fears of the 1960s.
Monday, January 18, 9:15pm (Introduction by Jennie Livingston)

Midnight Movie

Breakin'
Joel Silberg, USA, 1984, 35mm, 90m
A Cannon Films production; screening in conjunction with the documentary The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films
Breakin' did perhaps more than any other single work of art of any discipline to bring a marginal street dance form to the forefront of mainstream American pop culture-and to put spandex on the silver screen. Dated but still devastatingly entertaining, the film tells the tale of a struggling jazz dancer who, with the help of street-dancing friends, becomes the new sensation of the crowds, despite disapproval from her dance instructor and the bitter rivalry from another crew. A variety of hybrid breakthrough performances, alongside a fantastic soundtrack that included Ollie and Jerry's "There's No Stopping Us" and Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," made Breakin' a major success for the iconic low- and medium-budget Cannon Films.
Saturday, January 17, 11:30pm

New York Noir (1945-1948)

In classical Hollywood cinema, New York was frequently the setting for films that came to be defined as film noir. Starting with The House on 92nd Street, directors interwove documentary techniques into their storytelling, wanting to "film where it actually happened." These films portrayed the city as a postwar Gotham with endless crime and intrigues.

Cry of the City
Robert Siodmak, USA, 1948, DCP, 95m
Full-fledged noirist Robert Siodmak directed this gritty crime drama about two childhood best friends who take DIVERGENT paths: one becomes a cop (Victor Mature); the other, a cop killer (Richard Conte). The killer must grapple with confessing to a murder he did not commit in order to save his girlfriend from being framed for the crime. Shot mostly on location in New York City, the film features a thrilling score by Alfred Newman and is based on a masterful script by uncredited screenwriter Ben Hecht.
Sunday, January 25, 1:00pm

The House on 92nd Street
Henry Hathaway, USA, 1945, 35mm, 88m
A twisted tale of espionage in the Big Apple: while newly recruited FBI double agent Bill Dietrich is training in Hamburg, a mysterious street accident victim proves to have been spying on atomic bomb secrets. Dietrich is assigned to the New York spy ring stealing these secrets, which operates from a house in the Upper East Side. Dietrich's mission is to track down "Mr. Christopher" before his ruthless associates unmask and kill him. This first of the so-called "docudramas" to be shot entirely on location, The House on 92nd Street would influence a number of contemporary productions, including The Naked City.
Monday, January 26, 6:00pm

The Naked City
Jules Dassin, USA, 1948, 35mm, 96m
Shot entirely on location, The Naked City exposes a raw and menacing New York, from its darkest alleys to its tallest skyscrapers. Allegedly inspired by Weegee's photographs of crime scenes and Italian neorealism, blacklisted director Jules Dassin magnificently captured the city's street life. The film, winner of two Academy Awards for cinematography and editing, depicts a police investigation that follows the murder of a young model in her Upper West Side apartment, and features many memorable chases through the city, including a heart-stopping scene at the top of the Williamsburg Bridge. Special thanks to UCLA Film and Television Archives.
Screening with:
A Child of the Ghetto
D.W. Griffith, USA, 1910, 15m
Silent with live banjo accompaniment
World-renowned banjo player (and Harvard Business School graduate and founder of Compass Records and all around impressive Jewish woman) Alison Brown accompanies this classic from Hollywood legend D.W. Griffith: a documentary-like short tale of a woman's innocent crime in New York's bustling Lower East Side and her subsequent escape to the country and romance with a young farmer. Film restoration and new English subtitles by the National Center for Jewish Film. New York Premiere of New Restoration
Saturday, January 24, 7:00pm

Revival

The Birdcage
Mike Nichols, USA, 1996, 35mm, 117m
This 1996 adaptation of the iconic French farce La Cage aux Folles, directed by the dearly departed Mike Nichols, is as outrageous as the 1978 French-Italian film and the original 1973 stage play, and with a Jewish twist. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star as the flamboyant South Beach couple whose straight son brings his fiancée and her ultraconservative (and not even a little Jewish) parents to dinner. Williams and Lane transform into a happy heterosexual couple for the occasion, with Lane in drag, Gentile-izing themselves in the bargain from Goldman to Coleman ("the D is silent," says Lane's Albert). Mayhem and hilarity ensue. The outstanding cast also includes Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, and Hank Azaria.
Sunday, January 25, 8:45pm

War Against War

War Against War is a selection of antiwar films made mostly during the 1950s and 60s. This section of the New York Jewish Film Festival is accompanied by a small EXHIBITION of film posters of historically important antiwar films in the Furman Gallery of the Walter Reade Theater. With wars raging in many parts of the world, from Eastern Europe and the Middle East to East Africa and Central Asia, we seem to live in a time of constant war. Antiwar films have in various ways been able to capture the horrors of war and the physical and mental devastation wrought by war upon both soldiers and civilians. This selection depicts the horrors of war through inner turmoil, surreal plots, and the soul-searching of their characters.

The Battle of Algiers
Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy, 1966, 35mm, 121m
French, Arabic, and English with English subtitles
Battle of Algiers is unquestionably one of the most disturbing and impactful antiwar films of the 1960s. Based on events during the Algerian War (1954-62), the film focuses on the brutal titular battle, a long urban fight between French occupiers and Algerian guerrillas. Shot on location and bearing the influences of Italian neorealism (Roberto Rossellini in particular), Gillo Pontecorvo's film was seen as an example of how to organize a guerrilla movement and of the methods used by the colonial powers to contain it during the years of anti-colonial struggles and national liberation movements. Once banned in France, it is today considered one of the great political films.
Wednesday, January 21, 6:15pm

Fear and Desire
Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1953, 35mm, 62m
Stanley Kubrick's feature debut and his least-seen work marks the beginning of his interest in manifesting antiwar politics in films (anticipating the later Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket). Fear and Desire follows a group of soldiers who have survived a plane crash behind enemy lines, lost in a forest while fighting in an unidentified war-a journey that grows increasingly surreal as they try to rejoin their own troops. Preserved by the Library of Congress.
Screening with:
The War Game
Peter Watkins, UK, 1965, 35mm, 48m
Originally intended as a television film for the BBC, The War Game was pulled from the schedule after being deemed too disturbing for TV audiences. Peter Watkins's film was instead presented to the public through a number of organized screenings and shown abroad; it didn't end up airing on the BBC until 20 years later. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1967, it is one of the earliest examples of the so-called docudrama, presenting a fictional nuclear attack on the UK by Soviet missiles.
Tuesday, January 20, 6:15pm

Fires on the Plain
Kon Ichikawa, Japan, 1959, 35mm, 108m
Japanese with English subtitles
The script of this compelling antiwar film is based on Shohei Ooka's 1951 novel Nobi, and was adapted for the screen by director Kon Ichikawa. It tells the story of Tamura, a Japanese soldier suffering from tuberculosis at the end of World War II who deserts his unit and wanders around a Philippine island as the American troops arrive to liberate the Philippines. On his journey, Tamura encounters a couple, an American platoon, and other lost Japanese soldiers who reflect his own inner turmoil. The film depicts war's life or death struggles as a highly irrational and dehumanizing experience.
Monday, January 19, 1:00pm

I Was Nineteen
Konrad Wolf, East Germany, 1968, 115m
German and Russian with English subtitles
One of the best-known DEFA (East Germany's state-owned film studio) productions in history, Konrad Wolf's film is based on his own experiences during World War II, arriving with Soviet troops to fight in the Battle of Berlin at age 19. As the Red Army moves closer and closer to Berlin we see young Gregor Hecker (standing in for Wolf, the son of a Communist leader during the Weimar Republic) becoming commander of a small town and later playing a key part in the final run on Berlin. The film's narrative structure, editing style, camera movement, and dialogue are highly progressive for the time and seem closely related to techniques later employed by the directors of the French New Wave.
Monday, January 19, 8:30pm

Les Carabiniers
Jean-Luc Godard, France/Italy, 1963, 35mm, 80m
French with English subtitles
Directed by cinematic pioneer Jean-Luc Godard, this is perhaps one of the most surreal, grotesque, and disturbing antiwar movies ever made. Set in a fictional country during an unspecified historical period, two simpleminded peasants, Ulysses and Michelangelo, receive a letter from their king promising them riches and granting them complete freedom to commit any crime if they join the army and fight in an anonymous war. The two leave for the front lines and write postcards to their wives in which they report their murdering civilians, raping the enemies' women, stealing cars, and burning down schools. As the war progresses their actions become less and less human, yet they wind up, to their surprise, being executed for their crimes. Special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.
Monday, January 19, 6:15pm


Beyond the Screen:

Exhibitions

Coming Attractions: Art of the Film Noir Trailer
"A picture of tremendous excitement... A rarity of the screen... A raw slice of life..." Such was the language employed in many trailers for films noirs during the 1940s and '50s, whose rapid cuts, provocative narration, and dramatic scenarios made them films in and of themselves. In homage to the genre and its many talents, we have compiled noir and neo-noir trailers for 14 films from 1944-1970 into a unique 30-minute video presentation that will run on a continuous loop in the amphitheater of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center during the festival.

War Against War: Exhibition
A small EXHIBITION of film posters of historically important antiwar films in Furman Gallery in the Walter Reade Theater.


Public screening schedule for The New York Jewish Film Festival, January 14-29


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