For more than two weeks this January, the New York Jewish Film Festival once again takes up residence at two celebrated destinations for cinema at Lincoln Center, the Walter Reade Theater and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. This year’s broad slate of programs includes screenings of 46 films from filmmakers representing 14 countries. Their work richly explores the cinematic potential of the narrative feature, documentary, and short film, with results that are emotional, thought-provoking, visually arresting, and entertaining.
The NYJFF – the Museum’s proud collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, now in its 24th year – is the premier showcase for film exploring the diversity of Jewish experience around the world. With 21 movie premieres, including three worldwide debuts, plus a host of exciting “beyond the screen” programming – 55 programs in total – the 2015 NYJFF promises to be another memorable installment.
The Festival begins with the Opening Night film, The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer, about the Nobel laureate’s vital source of creative inspiration: his translators. Closing Night marks the New York Premiere of Maxime Giroux’s Montréal-set Felix and Meira, about a woman caught between two worlds living in an Orthodox enclave in the Canadian city’s Mile End district. Among the special programs is a chance to catch a midnight screening of the 1984 break-dancing hit Breakin’, playing in conjunction with The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films, about Hollywood B-list purveyors Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus. With a screening of The Birdcage on January 25 the Festival honors the dearly departed Mike Nichols. A curated selection of important New York-set films noirs from 1945 to 1948 captures a gritty, intriguing side of the midcentury Big Apple. “War Against War” consists of a series of antiwar films of the 1950s and ’60s, from Japan to the U.S., complemented by an exhibition of historically important antiwar film posters in the Walter Reade Theater’s Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery.
This year’s Artist Focus spotlights Keren Cytter, who shows five recent videos and discusses her work with Jens Hoffmann, Curator for Special Programs, NYJFF. Special guest Jennie Livingston has selected two films she feels relate to Jewish culture, along with a 25th anniversary screening of her seminal doc Paris Is Burning. Highlights from the main slate of films include the New York City premiere of Israel’s Foreign Language Oscar submission and Golden Globe-nominated Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem, directed by siblings Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz and featuring Ronit in the starring role. The world premiere of The Zionist Idea, Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky’s 160-minute documentary, is further explored in a panel discussion about the topic on January 25.
For complete Festival information and tickets, visit NYJFF.org. See the trailer: