From Dustin Hoffman to Mr. Haffmann – BIFF Offers Many Titles of Interest

The Boulder International Film Festival returns for its 19th year this weekend with another strong selection of feature films, documentaries, and signature events, as well as many virtual screenings available after the festival’s run, March 2-5, at venues around Boulder County.

This year BIFF offers a number of titles of special interest to Jewish audiences, includingFour Winters,” an excellent documentary about the 25,000 Jewish partisans (including my husband’s parents) who fought from the forests during the Holocaust, a film I am also hoping to show in November.

Farewell, Mr. Haffmann also tells a compelling Holocaust story, this one a moving French drama about a desperate Jewish jeweler who is sheltered by his assistant, an arrangement that becomes increasingly complicated – and dangerous. I highly recommend the film, which has been winning awards at many Jewish film festivals.

Cinema Sabaya,” about a group of Israeli and Palestinian women documenting their lives on video, has also been popping up at Jewish film festival across the country. The acclaimed film is based on a group program facilitated by an Israeli filmmaker at a small community center.

Judy Blume Forever,” which I have not seen, is a portrait of the best-selling Jewish author and much-admired chronicler of adolescence, who shares her own coming of age story onscreen.

Music documentaries are always well represented at BIFF and are among my favorite genres. Roberta is the new biography of African American singer Roberta Flack, perhaps best known for a song written by Jewish composer Charles Fox, who is also the subject of a new documentary I am looking at, “Killing Me Softly with his Songs.”

Another intriguing title is Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy,” which chronicles the making of the ground-breaking classic by Jewish director John Shlesinger and featuring Dustin Hoffman in his breakthrough role.

I happened to see The Last Rider at Telluride, and although there’s no Jewish content, it is a wonderful documentary about American bicycling legend Greg Lamond, who was there in person.

I have tickets to the virtual screening ofThe Thief Collector,” a new feature film about Jewish school teachers Jerry and Rita Alter, who pulled of one of the great art heists in history. I can’t wait!

For tickets to BIFF, visit BIFF1.com.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time." kathryn.bernheimer@gmail.com

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