The 17th Jewish Film Festival kicks off on 30 October in five cities across the UK. This is what’s happening in the capital.
Opening night is a gala screening of historical drama The Jewish Cardinal at BFI Southbank, telling the story of Jewish-born Jean-Marie Lustiger who became head of the French Church and close confidant of Pope John Paul II. Then it’s two and a half weeks (no screenings on Fridays or Saturday daytimes for obvious reasons) of drama, comedy, family, shorts and documentary films all across town.
Pick of the festival are the other galas: Czech noir In The Shadow combines communism and conspiracy; Israeli Fill the Void is notable for the Best Actress award that Hadas Yaron picked up at the Venice Film Festival; Eurovision-esque feelgood movie Cupcakes; and Ari Folman’s The Congress, his follow up to Waltz with Bashir, gets an IMAX outing in Swiss Cottage (you can also see Waltz with Bashir on 3 November).
Also interesting looking are a docudrama about the life of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism, featuring the voices of Christoph Waltz and Ben Kingsley; a double bill of shortish documentaries Bureau 06 (about the unit that investigated charges against Adolf Eichmann) and The Lady in Number 6 (about 109 year old pianist and Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommer); a family friendly adaptation of David Grossman’s book The Zigzag Kid; Aftermath, a tense psychological drama that’s been a sensation in Poland; Afternoon Delight, the film that took Best Director at Sundance for Jill Soloway; and a history ‘walk’ round London’s East End, From Cable Street to Brick Lane.
As you’ve probably spotted, many of these films aren’t in English, so it’s also a good opportunity to catch some curated foreign language cinema. There’s also a few old favourites to see again: as well as Waltz with Bashir, catch Borat, Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man again.
Venues holding screenings are: BFI Southbank, the Tricycle in Kilburn, Odeons Swiss Cottage and South Woodford, Jewish Community Centre on Finchley Road, the Barbican, the Phoenix in East Finchley, Cine Lumiere in Kensington, Everyman Hampstead and the Soho Theatre.
There’s far more than this going on, so we advise browsing the programme to get the full breadth.
The 17th Jewish Film Festival runs 30 October-17 November. See the website for more information.