Menorah looks forward to presenting a stimulating week of films about humor and herring, Communism and Catholicism, cinema luminaries and Russian emigres, Orthodoxy and feminism, aliyah and anti-Semitism.
The second annual Boulder Jewish Film Festival sponsored by the Millstone Evans Group of Raymond James opens on Thursday, February 27 with “Sukkah City” – with director Jason Hutt in person – and closes on March 9 with “The Ballad of the Weeping Spring” followed by a concert of Mizrahi music.
Tickets are now on sale through the Dairy Center’s Boedecker Theater. CLICK HERE to buy tickets.
Or, to see Boulder JCC’s description of films listed below, with links to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.
The festival is now seeking sponsorships from individuals, businesses and organizations, and sponsors will be acknowledged prior to and during the festival. If you are interested in sponsoring a film, please email Menorah@boulderjcc.org, or call 303-998-1021.
There will be talkbacks following each screening. Tickets are $12 and screenings are in the Boe unless otherwise indicated.
OPENING NIGHT: SUKKAH CITY
Directed by Jason Hutt who appears in person. In English; 67 minutes
Some of the best documentaries are also the most unlikely. Director Jason Hutt follows the audacious contest launched by best-selling author Joshua Foer (brother of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer), who wondered what the world’s best architects might devise when challenged to design and build kosher sukkahs, the winners to be displayed in Union Square. The results are staggeringly creative and shed light on the religious, cultural, and architectural relevance and meaning of Sukkot today.
TALKBACK: Director Jason Hutt. Dessert Reception following the film, Thursday, February 27, 7:00 pm, in the Dairy Performance Hall, Tickets $25
CLOSING NIGHT: THE BALLAD OF THE WEEPING SPRING
Directed by Benny Torati. In Hebrew; 105 minutes. Israeli Films
This bittersweet Israeli drama about a famed Mizrahi band that reunites many years after having been torn apart by tragedy is a stylized homage to spaghetti Westerns and Samurai epics. An allegory of reconciliation as well as a celebration of music and its healing power, this crowd-pleaser was nominated for 9 Ophirs (Israeli Oscars) and won four, including best original music.
TALKBACK: Sheldon Sands. Concert and Israeli food follow the screening!! Sunday, March 9, 6:00 pm in the Dairy Performance Hall. Tickets $36
Directed by Jason Hutt who appears in person. In English; 80 minutes.
Jason Hutt’s 2007 knock-out debut documentary follows the career of top professional boxer Dmitriy Salita, a Russian immigrant who also happens to be a rigorously observant Jew. Orthodox Judaism and prize fighting are Dmitriy’s two passions, and this valiant immigrant struggles to find his place in these incompatible worlds with amazing faith and grace.
TALKBACK: Director Jason Hutt. Friday, February 28, 2:30 pm in the Boe
WHEN COMEDY WENT TO SCHOOL
Directed by Mevlut Akkaya. In English; 77 minutes. International Film Circuit.
This hilarious look at the Borscht Belt – the renowned breeding ground of a generation of stand-up comics who refined their distinctive style of humor and launched their careers in the Catskills – helps answer the question of why Jews are so darn funny. Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Billy Crystal, Buddy Hackett, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, Robert Klein, Jerry Stiller – I’m laughing already!
TALKBACK: Rich Schad. Saturday, March 1, 7:30 pm in the Boe. Sunday, March 2, 2:00 pm, in the Boe
QUALITY BALLS: THE DAVID STEINBERG STORY
Directed by Barry Avrich. In English; 75 minutes. Seventh Art Releasing
The son of a rabbi, this yeshiva student got his start as a cerebral and satiric stand-up comic delivering hilariously daring Biblical skits. When he took the comedy world by storm in the ‘60s, his material was overtly and defiantly Jewish and he was aptly described as a cross between Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce. He was on The Tonight Show, as guest and host, more times than anyone other than Bob Hope. He left the stage to direct comedies (“Mad About You,” “Seinfeld,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), but as this new documentary amusingly reveals, he remains a comic genius of the highest order.
Sunday, March 2, noon in the Boe
Tuesday March 4, 5:00 pm in the Boe
IN THE SHADOW
Directed by David Ondricek. In Czech; 106 minutes. Israeli Films
Last year’s Czech Oscar entry, this gripping film noir thriller is based on the notorious show trials that sent countless innocent Jewish intellectuals to death during the Communist era of the 1950s. Sebastian Koch (who stared in the similarly themed “The Lives of Others”) plays a German collaborator who is not all he seems in this complex story of one honest cop battling a nefarious anti-Semitic regime.
TALKBACK: Ishka Lichter. Monday, March 3, 6:30 pm
Directed by David Cairns and Paul Duane. In French; 60 minutes
The forgotten story of one of the most influential figures in French cinema, Bernard Natan, whose luminous career ended in the ashes of Auschwitz – his reputation already having been viciously destroyed – is hauntingly recounted in this Irish (yes Irish!) documentary about a sensational case of anti-Semitism that bears uncanny resemblance to the Dreyfuss affair.
PRECEDED BY REPORTING ON THE TIMES: THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE HOLOCAUST
Directed by Emily Harrold. In English; 18 minutes
This stunning short film examines the astonishingly short shrift the New York Times gave to the mass genocide of the Jews, and the reasons for this deliberate and arguably damaging decision to bury the well-documented destruction of European Jewry.
Monday, March 3, 8:45 pm in the Boe
Friday, March 7, 4:00 pm in the Boe
FILL THE VOID
Directed by Rama Buhrstein
In Hebrew; 90 minutes. Sony Pictures Classics
The first feature film to be written and directed by an Orthodox woman for public audiences focuses on the romantic and ethical dilemma of a young Haredi woman who must decide whether to marry her sister’s widower. The winner of 7 Ophir Awards, this tenderly told story dispels myths as it offers a rare glimpse into a closed world. The director herself aptly compares it to an Orthodox version of Jane Austen.
TALKBACK PANEL MODERATED BY YEHUDIS FISHMAN
Tuesday, March 4, 7:00 pm
Thursday March 6, 5:00 pm
THE STURGEON QUEENS: RUSS AND DAUGHTERS
Directed by Julie Cohen
In English; 45 Minutes. Herring will be served!
About to celebrate its 100th anniversary with the addition of a sit-down café a few blocks from its Lower East Side fabled Jewish institution, Russ and Daughters is more than a fourth-generation testament to tradition. As this colorful and warm-hearted documentary reveals, Russ and Daughters is about love, food, and family.
PRECEDED BY CALIFORNIA SHMEER
Directed by Alan Rosenberg
In English; 25 minutes. Seventh Art Releasing
An homage and history of the bagel – with everything.
Wednesday, March 5, 4:00 pm in the Boe
Sunday March 9, 2:00 pm in the Boe
Directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski
In Polish; 104 minutes. Memensha Films
Released to both acclaim and controversy in Poland, where it was banned in some cinemas, this courageous and stunning thriller (from a famed non-Jewish writer/director) tells the fact-based story of two non-Jewish brothers determined to unearth the shocking truth about their village’s shameful and long-hidden Holocaust past.
Wednesday. March 5, 7:00 pm, in the Dairy Performance Hall
THE JEWISH CARDINAL
Directed by Ilan Duran Cohen
In French; 90 minutes. Film Movement
Based on the amazing life of Jean-Marie Lustiger, who steadfastly cherished his Jewish heritage despite rising to the role of Archbishop of Paris (1981-2005), this complex and acclaimed French biographical drama focuses on the cardinal’s heroic and controversial efforts to remove a Carmelite convent from Auschwitz, which aroused accusations of divided loyalties from both Jews and Catholics.
Thursday, March 6, 7:00 pm in the Boe
Directed by Elie Wajeman
In French; 90 minutes. Film Movement
This compelling, ironic look at the bonds of love, family, and self-determination centers on a young French Jew who decides the best way to make a much-needed change from his low-level drug-dealing, dead-end life in Paris is to move to Israel, deftly revealing the complications of Zionism.
Saturday, March 8, 8:00 pm in the Boe
LENIN IN OCTOBER
Directed by Evgemy Ruman
In Hebrew and Russian; 50 minutes. Go2Films
This perceptive Israeli comedy details the ideological dilemma of a Russian émigré who dreams of opening a restaurant in Ashdod, with money inherited from an uncle, an avowed Communist, whose will stipulates that the establishment be dedicated to the sacred values of Communism.
PRECEDED BY WELCOME AND OUR CONDOLENCES
Directed by Leon Prudovsky
In Hebrew and Russian; 26 minutes. Go2Films
In 1991, at the beginning of the mass wave of Russian immigration to Israel, a family’s ironic migration travails and comic complications are “recorded” by the 12-year old son.
TALKBACK: Professor Sasha Senderovich. Vodka will be served
Sunday, March 9, 4:00 pm in the Boe