2019 SUMMER JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
TUESDAYS at 2:00 & 7:30 P.M.
Advance, online ticket sales at www.falmouthjewish.org
Same day ticketing at the door, space permitting.
FJC’s 2019 Summer Jewish Film Festival continues its tradition of offering award-winning and thought-provoking films that inspire, educate, and move us. From comedy to drama, documentaries to feature films, we encounter both nuanced and exaggerated characters from both real life and fiction, films about politicians and authors, heroes from the Warsaw Ghetto, and – on opening night – the incomparable Dr. Ruth. All seen through a Jewish lens, prompting us in private and in post-screening conversation to contemplate what each film has to teach and show us about being a Jew in the world and on film.
New this year – online ticketing. Details are still being worked out, so look for instructions and then go purchase your online tickets and rest easy that you have secured your seat for each screening. Because of the nature of the online ticketing, we are not offering season REEL passes this year.
Thanks to the fabulous volunteer crew headed up by Merrilee Richter.
Tuesday, July 2 – Opening Night
Ask Dr. Ruth
Documentary (USA, 2019) Directed by Ryan White 1 hr. 40 min.
Ask Dr. Ruth chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Shoah survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. With her diminutive frame, thick German accent, and uninhibited approach to sex therapy and education, Dr. Ruth transformed the conversation around sexuality. As she approaches her 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, Dr. Ruth revisits her painful past and unlikely path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution. You’ll admire Dr. Ruth even more after seeing this film!
Tuesday, July 9
Promise at Dawn
Drama (France, 2017) French 2 hrs. 11 mins
Directed by Eric Barbier and based on the autobiographical novel and life of Romain Gary
Winner – Jury Prize Winner
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2019
Boston Jewish Film Festival 2018
Winner – Audience Special Prize
COLCOA French Film Festival, 2018
Nominated for 4 César Awards, including Best Actress & Best Adapted Screenplay
Romain Gary is one of the most famous French novelists and the only writer to have twice won the Goncourt Prize for French literature. Barbier’s biopic offers a sweeping chronicle of his life, from his childhood in Poland and adolescence in Nice, to his years as a student in Paris and his tough training as a pilot during World War II, At the film’s heart is Gary’s complex relationship between Gary and his mother (played by the mesmerizing, award-winning actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, who drove him to greatness against all odds in a Europe torn by anti-Semitism and war. Director Barbier describes his film as a “moving story, which concerns us and haunts us all; how dreams guide us or how they deceive us. But also why you should never give up.”
Tuesday, July 16
Tel Aviv on Fire
Drama/Comedy (Luxembourg, Belgium, Israel, France, 2019) Arabic and Hebrew. 1 hr. 40 min.
Directed by Sameh Zoabi
Winner – Best Film
Haifa International Film Festival, Israeli Film Competition Award
Venice Film Festival, Interfilm Award
Winner – Audience Award
Sarasota Film Festival – Best in World Cinema
Palestinian director Sameh Zoabi’s irreverent satire on the Arab-Israeli conflict follows Salam (Kais Nashif, “Paradise Now”), a winsome slacker whose uncle gets him a job on a sudsy Palestinian TV soap opera “Tel Aviv on Fire,” popular with both Israelis and Palestinians. Salam’s daily commute from Jerusalem to the Ramallah set through the Israeli checkpoint leads to regular encounters with the IDF officer in charge (Yaniv Biton, “Mossad 101”). In order to gain his favor, Salaam allows the commander to suggest changes to the plot that would steer a sultry Arab female spy fall in love with an IDF general. Torn between the demands of the army officer and the show’s Arab financial backers on how the love story will end, Salaam devises a final masterstroke.
Tuesday, July 23
Who Will Write Our History
Documentary (USA, 2018) 1 hr 35 mins
Written and Directed by Roberta Grossman (Above and Beyond, producer of Blessed is the Match and Hava Nagila)
New York Times Critic’s Pick – “Immensely important… heartbreaking”
Winner – Audience Award
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Grossman’s powerful film tells their story, mixing the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and dramatizations that transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not. The film honors the Oyneg Shabes members’ determination in creating the most important cache of eyewitness accounts to survive the war. It follows their moments of hope, as well as their despair, desperation and anger, sometimes at their fellow Jews as much as at their Nazi captors. It captures their humor, longing, hunger, and determination to retain their humanity in the face of unspeakable hardships. Ultimately, through their voices, actions, and real-time experiences, Who Will Write Our History vanquishes those who distort and dehumanize the “Other” in favor of those who stand up, fight back and, as one Oyneg Shabes member writes, “scream the truth to the world.”
Tuesday, July 30
A Fortunate Man
Drama (Denmark, 2018) In Danish and German, 2 hrs. 40 mins.
Directed by Bille August, Academy Award Winning Director of Pelle the Conquerer and based on Danish writer Henrik Pontoppidan’s Nobel Prize-winning novel Lykke-per
Seeking to reject his strict religious upbringing and fulfill his dreams, a pastor’s ambitious son hopes to wed into a wealthy Jewish family and find success in 19th century Copenhagen, The young Peter Sidenius (Esben Smed), a gifted hothead rebelling against his stifling childhood, sets sail for the industrialized world to become an engineer. He pursues his studies, rises to prominence, and quickly climbs the social ladder. But when he and alluring Jakobe Salomon (Katrine Greis-Rosenthal), a progressive intellectual, get engaged, his devout Lutheran family spurns his new life and Jewish fiancée. One of the most expensive Danish film productions ever, this heartbreaking epic, based on Danish writer Henrik Pontoppidan’s Nobel Prize-winning novel, features moving performances, dazzling cinematography, and sumptuous costume design and period detail and offers a rare look at the Jewish community of Denmark at a key period of the country’s socio-economic development.
Told with a dramatic, romantic sweep on par with the great classics of cinema, A Fortunate Man is not to be missed. Adapted from Denmark’s canonical novel, Lykke-Per, by Danish Nobel Prize–winning author Henrik Pontoppidan.
Tuesday, August 6
Drama (Israel, 2018) 1 hr. 39 mins.
Directed by Eliran Malka Hebrew and Yiddish
Starring Shuli Rand, star of the classic Israeli film Ushpizin
Jerusalem International Film Festival, Opening Night
Second most-viewed Israeli film in 2018
Directed by the creator of the immensely popular Israeli TV show Shababnikim, the hip television series about ne’er-do-well yeshiva students, The Unorthodox is a fictionalized account of the creation of Israel’s controversial religious Shas political party that several similarities with the TV series, including an electrifying rock soundtrack that propels this lively, genre-bending, funny but serious tale of politics and human drama.
Tired of being pushed around, a disenfranchised Sephardic father launches an improvised campaign to establish influence in 1980s Israeli society. A Jerusalem widower with no money or connections, everyman Yaakov Cohen (the impressive Shuli Rand) is incited to act when his daughter is expelled from a prestigious religious school because of her ethnicity. Fueled by only willpower and a raging sense of inequity, Yaakov and his friends unite to form the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party. A nascent challenge to the ruling Ashkenazi establishment, the grassroots movement sets off one of the most strange, surprising and transformative elections Israel has ever had. Based on actual events, Eliran Malka’s accomplished feature debut is animated with suspense, humor and a terrific soundtrack, relating a tale of underdog activism and dirty politics that reshaped Israel and continues to reverberate today. An exploration of how an organic community became an organized political movement and how Israel’s Sephardim came into their won politicially.
Tuesday, August 27 – Closing Night
Comedy/Drama (Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Austria, 2019) 1 hr. 56 min. In German and Slovakian
Directed by Martin Šulík
Winner, Building Bridges Jury Prize
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2019
Official Entry (Slovakia) – Best Foreign Language Film, 2019 Academy Awards
Winner – Film Critics Circle Award
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2018
Winner of SIX Slovak National Film Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Script, Best Music
Starring Peter Simonischek (Toni Erdmann) and Jiří Menzel (Academy Award Winner, Closely Watched Trains)
Odd-couple traveling companions—the son of a Nazi officer and his Jewish translator—roam the Slovak countryside, in this bittersweet road movie full of melancholic humor that traverses complex moral and historical territory. Gloomy, worldly-wise widower Ali (Jirí Menzel) leaves his home in Bratislava to find and kill the SS officer who murdered his parents during WWII. Instead, he meets the Nazi’s son in Vienna, retired teacher Georg (Peter Simonischek), an incorrigible drunk and womanizer, yet to grasp the enormity of his father’s crimes. Despite their tense first encounter, the two ill-matched men travel together to bear witness in a country eager to forget its dark past, developing a prickly friendship along the way. The Interpreter oscillates between comedy and tragedy, exploring themes of memory, trauma and guilt through the shared history of characters seeking to bridge their differences and reclaim their humanity.
Thanks to the Jewish Federation of Cape Cod for its sponsorship.