The Big Picture

Film still from Like Brothers

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.

Other notable films include NYJFF favorite Daniel Burman’s Argentinian comedy The Mystery of Happiness and the French road-trip comedy Like Brothers.

For complete Festival information and tickets, visit See the trailer:

Artist Yevgeniya Baras on Abstraction, Painting, and Teaching at the Museum

This month, the Jewish Museum will offer the first in a series of art classes for adults: an abstract painting workshop inspired by the work on view in From the Margins: Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis, 1945 – 1952, taught by contemporary artist Yevgeniya Baras.

Based in Brooklyn, Baras has exhibited her work in several New York City galleries and internationally, including exhibitions in Jerusalem. She has taught university-level art classes for the past eight years, and holds BA and MS degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Rema Hortmann Foundation named Baras a 2014 recipient of its Emerging Artist Prize. She is co-founder of the Regina Rex Gallery, located in lower Manhattan, and was recently profiled in Art in America for her curatorial work. Baras has a solo exhibition opening on February 21, 2015, at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects in Manhattan.

Baras and Chris Gartrell, Adult Programs Coordinator at the Jewish Museum and a fellow painter, recently discussed abstraction, painting, and what students can look forward to in her upcoming class at the Jewish Museum.

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Come Visit on December 25!

Visitors to Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power at the Jewish Museum. Photo by Will Ragozzino/


Open 11 am to 4:30 pm.  Members and concert ticket-holders skip the lines!

With four floors of exhibitions to view, and two concerts and a Drop-In Art Workshop for families with children, there is something for everyone. Even the Cooper Shop will be open with special values for our December 25 visitors.

Exhibition highlights include Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power, which The Wall Street Journal called “…a stunning profile of a collector and cosmetics mogul…A tour de force,” and From the Margins: Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis, 1945 – 1952. The New York Times raved that From the Margins is “…a nuanced, sensitive and profound exhibition… a subtler, more intimate dialect of Abstract Expressionism.” See everything on view.

At 11:30 am or 2 pm, join Oran Etkin’s Timbalooloo, a world party for families. From the music of Africa to klezmer and jazz, Etkin’s performances weave global melodies and rhythms into a gumbo of goodness. Plus art-making and more. (Tickets include Museum admission)

And families with children ages 3 and up can drop by our art studio on Floor 4 to create a playful abstract work of art using stamp-making and collage techniques inspired by the dazzling canvases of painters Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis. (12:30 – 4 pm. Free with Museum Admission).