New York Jewish Film Festival

Common Chords At N.Y. Jewish Film Festival

A number of the offerings, from “AKA Doc Pomus” to “Kol Nidre,” pivot on music.
Special to the Jewish Week

Dan Edelstyn and his wife, Hillary Powell, with their vodka in “How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire.”  Tim Sullivan

New York Jewish Film Fest’s Sweet Farewell

From the cafés of Paris to the Catskills, festival picks ruminate on the role of the Jewish artist in modernity.
Special to the Jewish Week

It isn’t hard to find a common theme uniting some of the more interesting entries in the final week of the New York Jewish Film Festival this year. From the cafés of Paris to the Catskills, the documentaries on display are ruminations on the role of the Jewish artist in modernity. One could even argue, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that the excellent Polish thriller “Daas” is about a Jewish artist. A con artist.

Scene from “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort,” the festival’s closing-night film.

A ‘Passion’ To Tell Entebbe Hero’s Tale

‘Follow Me’ recounts the life of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brother.
Editor And Publisher

Yonatan Pinchot, 14, of Silver Spring, Md., has a special connection to new documentary film called “Follow Me,” telling the personal story of an authentic, modern-day Israeli hero.

Ari Pinchot, above, was moved by the story of Yonatan Netanyahu, in the circle.

Movies Around The Clock

From wristwatch metaphors in ‘Restoration’ to the cross currents of past and present in ‘Remembrance,’ Jewish film fest meditates on the passage of time.
Special to the Jewish Week

Jewish thought tends to classify time in highly specific quantities: seven days from Shabbat to Shabbat, 49 days of counting the Omer, generation to generation.

A scene from Joseph Madmony’s “Restoration,” about an antique furniture craftsman whose business is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Foreigners But Not Strangers

Film about unique south Tel Aviv school garners Oscar nomination.
Special To The Jewish Week

To read the Israeli papers is to see a steady stream of stories bemoaning the country's public education system, especially those citing Israeli students' low test scores in science and math.

But American filmmakers Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman found a unique south Tel Aviv school that is doing all the right things with a dizzyingly diverse student body. Their documentary about the Bialik-Rogozin school, "Strangers No More," was just nominated for an Oscar in the documentary short category.

The Bialik-Rogozin school in S. Tel Aviv teaches a dizzyingly diverse group of youngsters, many the children of foreign workers

Jewish Film Fest’s ‘Open Destiny’

Grace Paley documentary and Eran Riklis film top series at JCC and Walter Reade.
Special To The Jewish Week

In one of her short stories, Grace Paley writes, “Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life.” Such a splendid statement, the quotation turns up twice in Lilly Rivlin’s splendid new documentary on Paley’s life and work, “Grace Paley: Collected Shorts,” which plays in this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival. The sentiment behind the sentence is so open-handed and wholehearted that it could be applied to the best films in the festival, including Rivlin’s own offering.

Grace Paley and friends outside a draft board office during the Vietnam War in scene from “Grace Paley: Collected Shorts.”

‘Vir Bist Du, Romeo?’

‘Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish’ features a cast of young dropouts from New York’s chasidic community.
Special to The Jewish Week

He was a Satmar dropout, a street kid getting by on credit card and airport baggage claim scams. She was a prodigal daughter, also from a Satmar family, knocking around as a student in Europe and Israel, asking the questions and plying the lifestyle no good chasidic girl should.

Lazer Weiss and Melissa Weisz in Yiddish retelling of star-crossed lovers tale.
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