The 30th annual Boston Jewish Film Festival kicks off Nov. 7 with two weeks of storytelling, music, human connection and Jewish identity told through 50 films.
Perhaps no movie character will be more adorable, small, reckless or innocent than the star of Steven Spielberg’s first animated production, “An American Tail.” This 1986 feature, which will be screened at the festival’s BJFF Jr! event on Nov. 11, follows a reluctant hero, the young Jewish mouse named Fievel Mousekewitz. Fievel and his family flee Russia amid rising persecution from cats and escape to the rough-and-tumble New York City streets because, as his father sings, “There are no cats in America.”
If only that were true.
Fievel’s adventures, which mirror the struggles of waves of Jewish immigrants arriving in America, take him from Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty to Lower East Side sweatshops to Manhattan’s sewers. Can he find his family again? Can they ever escape feline oppression and cruelty? Is there one righteous cat among the feline gangs?
Listen in as Miriam, Dan and Ashley explore the Mousekewitz family’s immigrant journey to America, wax nostalgic about the beautiful hand-drawn animation, wonder if Jewish mice received their own tiny Torah at a tiny Mount Sinai and discuss if the streets of America were ever truly “paved with cheese.”
Edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.