33rd annual Jewish Film Festival starts tomorrow

"God's Neighbors" kicks off the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.
"God's Neighbors" kicks off the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.
Posted: November 01, 2013

THE PHILADELPHIA Jewish Film Festival gets underway tomorrow, kicking off two weeks of internationally heralded movies and accompanying talent.

Tomorrow's opening night movie is "God's Neighbors" (Gershman Y, 8 p.m.), an award-winner at the Cannes Film Festival, and praised in Variety as an "assured, provocative" look at young Hassidic men who enforce religious laws in their own neighborhood, until one falls for a woman who doesn't follow rules. Director Meni Yaesh will discuss the movie via Skype.

The festival closes Nov. 16 with an 8 p.m. screening of "Bethlehem," award winner at the Venice Film Festival and winner of Israel's best-picture award for its portrayal of a Palestinian informant caught between Israeli intelligence officers and his own family.

In between are several films that have attracted attention at global festivals. On Sunday, the festival will screen "Rock the Casbah," a gritty drama about Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza during the 1989 Intifada. The film won the Art Cinemas Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Director Yariv Horowitz will attend the screening, 7 p.m. at the Ambler Theater.

The program, comprising 21 movies from 11 countries, also includes "Red Flag" (Tuesday, Ritz East, 7 p.m.), a comedy from writer-director-actor Alex Karpovsky (HBO's "Girls"), playing a filmmaker on a promotional tour of the South with one of his own titles. Karpovsky will be available for a Q&A after the film.

There is a centerpiece screening Nov. 9 at 8 p.m., at the Prince Music Theater of "The Jewish Cardinal," the dramatized story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, born a Jew in France to Polish immigrants, converted to Catholicism during the Nazi occupation and later appointed by Pope John Paul II to Archbishop of Paris, despite Lustiger's ongoing claims to be both Jewish and Catholic. His religious self-categorization rankled Catholics and Jews, but Lustiger remained a tireless advocate of social justice and kept a religious role in public life until his death five years ago. The movie is followed by a discussion with Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum.

On Nov. 11 at International House, 7 p.m., the festival will screen "Aftermath," which has caused a sensation in Poland for its dramatization of the 1941 massacre of Polish Jews at Jedwabne, an incident first blamed on occupying Nazis, but later proved to the work of other Poles. A panel discussion will follow.

The festival, now in its 33rd year, is spread over several area venues, including the Gershman Y, International House, Drexel's Mitchell Auditorium, the Prince Music Theater and the Ritz theaters. Information about screenings and tickets can be found at pjff.org.


Blog: philly.com/KeepItReel

Online: ph.ly/Movies

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