Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival 2005
Presented by: The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life with support from the Karma Foundation
The following critically acclaimed, international dramatic and documentary films were featured at the 2005 Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival:
WATERMARKS is the story of the champion women swimmers of Hakoah Vienna, the legendary Jewish sports club, which was founded in 1909 in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph that forbade Austrian sports clubs from accepting Jewish athletes. In 1938, the Nazis shut down the club, but the swimmers managed to flee the country before the war broke out. The film juxtaposes recent interviews with the women swimmers with historical footage from Vienna in the 1930s and documents their reunion after thirty-six years.
Set in the customarily closed world of ultra-Orthodox Jews, USHPIZIN tells the story of Moshe and Mali, a newly orthodox childless couple, who find themselves penniless on the eve of Sukkot. Unexpected visitors result in a chain of events that challenges the couple's faith and position in the community. USHPIZIN, the first feature filmed in Israel's ultra-Orthodox community is a semi-autobiographical story written by and starring Shuli Rand (MOSHE).
Nestled in the mountains of Tennessee, Whitwell is a rural community of fewer than two thousand people. Its citizens are almost exclusively Caucasian and Christian. In 1998, the children of Whitwell Middle School took on a project related to the Holocaust, which their principal hoped would open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley. The paperclips project is an example of how a committed group of children and educators can create change.
Sister Rose's Passion
SISTER ROSE'S PASSION tells the story of Rose Thering, a Dominican nun who has made the battle against anti-Semitism her life's work. A well known spiritual leader and educator who lives in New Jersey, Sister Rose challenged the doctrine blaming Jews for the death of Jesus, and took a leading role in Vatican II. She has been a strong advocate for mandating Holocaust education in the schools and continues to carry on her fight for these causes today.
This dramatic story, based on a historical event, portrays the courageous protest of Aryan women married to Jews against the imprisonment of their husbands in a cell on Rosenstrasse in 1943 Berlin. Director Margarethe Von Trotta tells this moving story, beginning in modern-day New York City where Hannah begins to probe into her mother's troubled past and discovers long-buried family secrets and her own connection to the historical events of Rosenstrasse.
Unzere Kinder (Our Children)
In Poland's last Yiddish feature, comedy duo Dzigan and Shumacher play all the parts in a Sholem Aleichem story for an audience of children who survived the Holocaust. But the children out-do the performers when they exchange roles and demonstrate the healing, liberating powers of song, dance and storytelling. The film, featuring children living in a Jewish orphanage in postwar Poland, is a remarkable document of the first Jewish responses to the Holocaust.
My 100 Children
In 1945, in the wake of WWII, Lena Kuchler discovers dozens of orphaned and abandoned children. She takes these children under her wing, creates a home for them, and eventually leads them to Israel. The film brings together moving testimonies of these lost children, and their memories about a woman who believed in humanity and in life. The film is based on Lena Kuchler's book My Hundred Children published in Israel in 1959 and translated into 14 languages.
The film portrays the dilemmas confronting the Druze community which is split between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, by focusing on Mona, a Druze bride, on her wedding day. Mona is torn between her wish to get married and her knowledge that she will not be able to return to her family after she crosses the border to join her Syrian fiancé. Well-known Israeli director, Eran Riklis, shows the impact of political conflict on individual and communal life.
Another Road Home
Israeli filmmaker Danae Elon takes us on a quest to find the Palestinian man who helped raise her. Elon's physical and emotional journey takes her from her home in New York to an Arab-American neighborhood in New Jersey and, finally, to the West Bank and Jerusalem. This deeply moving documentary by the daughter of Israeli author Amos Elon reaches out with unsentimental acuity to all who believe in the power of family, trust, and friendship.
ALLES AUF ZUCKER (Go For Zucker)
The first Jewish comedy made in Germany since World War II, ALLES AUF ZUCKER. tells the story of two brothers who have been separated since the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. Conniving pool shark Jaeckie Zucker must make up with his estranged Orthodox brother Samuel in order to meet the terms of his mother's inheritance. The resulting clash of civilizations is inevitable.