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Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival 2008

The following critically acclaimed, international dramatic and documentary films were featured at the 2008 Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival:

 

Two Ladies
The Champagne Spy
Israel/Germany, 2007, DVD, 90 min.
Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Nadav Schirman
At the age of twelve, Oded Gur Arie discovered that his father was an Israeli Mossad agent leading a double life in Egypt. Forty years later, The Champagne Spy is his attempt to fill in the blanks in his father’s life and finally tell his dramatic tale of espionage. The film weaves together Oded’s personal reflections, home movies, newsreel footage and interviews with friends, former colleagues and high-ranking Mossad officials.

Two Ladies
Two Ladies
France, 2007, DVD, 73 min.
French and Arabic with English subtitles
Director: Philippe Faucon
As tensions mount between France’s Jewish and Muslim communities, two women – Esther, who is Jewish, and Halima, who is Muslim – form a special bond, linked by their Algerian roots. This hopeful drama offers a sensitive portrayal of their unlikely friendship, which defies the prejudice and hostility that surround them.

Praying with Lior
Praying with Lior
USA, 2007, DVD, 87 min. English
Director: Ilana Trachtma
This moving documentary portrays Lior Liebling, a child with Down syndrome and a powerful spirituality, as he sings and prays in preparation for his long anticipated bar mitzvah. His supportive family and community set an unparalleled example of love and inclusion.

Orthodox Stance
Orthodox Stance
USA, 2007, DVD, 83 min.
English, Russian with English subtitles
Director: Jason Hutt
Twenty-four-year-old Russian immigrant Dmitriy Salita is a strictly observant Jew who is breaking records and making boxing history. This documentary film takes an intimate look at how he balances life in two seemingly incompatible worlds, demonstrating a rare ability to integrate his religious devotion and his drive to capture a professional boxing title.

The Band's Visit
The Band's Visit
Israel/France/USA, 2007, 35mm, 87 min.
English, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Eran Kolirin
The members of an Egyptian police band arrive in Israel as part of a cultural exchange, but are left stranded at the airport. Venturing out on their own, they become lost in a desolate development town in the heart of the desert, where they discover more in common with the local residents than at first thought. The Band’s Visit treats this touching cultural encounter with gentle humor.

Four Seasons Lodge
Four Seasons Lodge
USA, 2008, DVD, 101 min.
English (some Hebrew, Polish, and Yiddish with English subtitles)
Director: Andrew Jacobs
Four Seasons Lodge, a bungalow colony in New York’s Catskill Mountains, has provided idyllic refuge to a group of Holocaust survivors and their families for nearly three decades. With inspiring openness, this film offers an insightful portrait of their summers at the lodge, documenting their love of life, family, mahjong, and dance as well as their commitment to their community and their special bond with the lodge itself.

The Galilee Eskimos
The Galilee Eskimos
Israel, 2007, 35 mm, 99 min.
Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Jonathan Paz
When an old kibbutz in the Hills of Galilee is deserted overnight, twelve of its original members awaken to find themselves abandoned. Filled with humor and sadness, The Galilee Eskimos turns a bittersweet lens on the transformation of the original kibbutz way of life.


Jellyfish
Jellyfish
Israel/France, 2007, 35mm, 78 min.
Hebrew and Tagalog with English subtitles
Directors: Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen
Set against the background of Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, Jellyfish tells the story of three very different Tel Aviv women – a waitress, a disappointed bride, and a domestic worker from the Philippines. Subject to the whims of destiny, they struggle to find love as their intersecting lives create an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life.


The Counterfeiters
The Counterfeiters
Austria/Germany, 2006, 35 mm, 99 min.
German with subtitles
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Toward the end of World War Two, the Nazis masterminded the largest counterfeiting operation in history, forging millions of British pounds in an effort to weaken the enemy’s economy. Based on the memoir by Adolf Burger, The Counterfeiters examines the moral dilemma faced by the Jewish forgers plucked from the death camps to carry out this secret scheme, known as "Operation Bernhard."

Constatine's Sword
Constantine's Sword
USA, 2007, 35 mm, 95 min.
English
Director: Oren Jacoby
Constantine's Sword is the compelling personal narrative of James Carroll, a former Catholic priest on a journey to uncover the roots of religiously motivated violence. As Carroll confronts his own dark past, the film traces the history of religious intolerance and fanaticism that continue to cast their shadows and threaten the world today.

Noodle
Noodle
Israel, 2007, 35 mm, 90 min.
Hebrew/Mandarin/English with English subtitles
Director: Ayelet Menahemi
When the young son of her Chinese housekeeper is suddenly left in her care, twice-widowed Miri must face the unexpected challenge of reuniting the boy with his missing mother. With humor and sensitivity, Noodle interweaves this quest with Miri’s own search for meaning in her life.

Love & Dance
Love & Dance
Israel, 2006, 35 mm, 90 min.
Hebrew/Russian with English subtitles
Director: Eitan Anner
A coming-of-age story, Love and Dance follows Chen, the young son of a Russian-born mother and an Israeli father, who falls in love with a Russian girl and joins her dance class. As his interest in ballroom dancing blossoms, he begins to come to terms with his own identity and tries to bridge the cultural divide that pervades life in his immigrant town.


One Day You'll Understand
One Day You'll Understand
France, 2008, 35mm, 90 min.
French with English subtitles
Director: Amos Gitai
Raised Catholic like their father, Victor and his sister knew nothing of their parents’ wartime past or of their maternal grandparents’ deportation. In 1987, the televised trial of Klaus Barbie, ‘the butcher of Lyon,’ disturbs this legacy of silence and spurs Victor to search for the missing pieces of his family’s history. This film is an adaptation of Jerome Clement’s autobiographical novel, Plus Tard, Tu Comprendras.

Panel Discussion on Israeli Film featured: Prof. Miri Talmon-Bohm, Israeli Cinema and Culture Scholar, University of Wisconsin, Prof. Olga Gershenson, Dept. of Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst and Isaac Zablocki, Director of Film & Literary Programs, JCC in Manhatta.

 

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