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FESTIVAL A-Z

AIDA’S SECRETS

Sunday, May 7, 2:30 pm @ West Newton Cinema

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
Family secrets and high drama unspool in this stirring story of love and betrayal, brotherhood and belonging. Izak was born to Aida inside the Bergen-Belsen DP camp in 1945 and sent for adoption in Israel. Details about Aida’s enigmatic choices, the true identity of Izak’s father, and an unknown brother slowly emerge in this personal investigative film. Timely questions of identity, resilience, and the plight of refugees are brought to life in this compassionate documentary that also opens a window onto the displaced persons camps, where young people who survived death grabbed hold of life and love. (Dir: Alon Schwarz & Shaul Schwarz | Germany/Israel/USA | 2016 | 90m | English & Hebrew w/ English subtitles)

Winner, Best Film DocAviv Film Festival; Best Documentary Atlanta & Miami Jewish Film Festivals
“Powerful.” –Time Magazine

BEN-GURION, EPILOGUE

Thursday, May 4, 6:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts – OPENING NIGHT
Q&A with Director Yariv Mozer and Prof. Ilan Troen, founding director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. Welcome by Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England
Tuesday, May 9, 5:00 pm @ West Newton Cinema

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
Don’t miss this remarkable intimate and fascinating visit with David Ben-Gurion, one of modern history’s great leaders. It is 1968, the Founding Father of Israel is 82-years-old and five years out of office. Secluded in his desert home at Sde Boker in the Negev, Ben-Gurion sat for the recently discovered interview that forms the spine of this excellent documentary. Ben-Gurion candidly and introspectively reflects on his life and his life’s work: the Zionist enterprise. (Dir: Yariv Mozer | Israel/France/Germany | 2016 | 70m | English & Hebrew w/ English subtitles)

“Essential viewing for anyone interested in Israeli history.” –Hollywood Reporter “A work of undeniable historical significance.” –Screen Daily  
“A satisfying, informative portrait of a well-read man who looks back at his life, good decisions and bad, with wisdom and intelligence.” –New York Times

THE BLOOM OF YESTERDAY / Die Blumen von gestern

Sunday, May 7, 11:00 am @ Coolidge Corner Theatre
Q&A with Poet & Author Esther Dischereit

NORTHEAST PREMIERE
A German Holocaust researcher (Lars Eidinger), grandson of a Nazi war criminal, is struggling with his family history and his career. At the height of his personal crisis, he encounters a passionate, frenetic French Jewish woman (Adèle Haenel) whose grandmother was killed by the Nazis. After a rocky meet-cute, the kookily mismatched pair bond, speak candidly about their family legacies, and stumble toward romance in this risk-taking drama. Winner, Grand Prize Tokyo Int’l Film Festival. Eight nominations for the German Film Awards, including Best Feature. (Dir: Chris Kraus | Germany | 2016 | 123m | German w/ English subtitles)

“Audacious… offbeat romantic comedy that explores the legacy of the Holocaust two generations removed. An entertainingly skewed, iconoclastic dramedy.” –Variety

BODY & SOUL: AN AMERICAN BRIDGE + A CANTOR ON TRIAL

Friday, May 5, 7:00 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)
Q&A with UMass Professor Jeffrey Melnick, Interviewee in the film
Sunday, May 7, 5:00 pm @ West Newton Cinema

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
Put on your dancing shoes for this toe-tapping documentary. Music broke the color barrier before the U.S. Army and before baseball. The American Songbook was forged in part by the collaboration of African Americans and Jews—and by their conflicts as well. This film swings as it looks at the relationship between black and Jewish musicians in the Jazz Age. Featuring Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Johnny Green, Libby Holman, Jack Hylton, John Coltrane, and Louis Armstrong. Winner, Best Music Documentary San Francisco Black Film Festival. (Dir: Robert Philipson | USA | 2016 | 58m | English)

Preceded by:
A CANTOR ON TRIAL
World Premiere – New Digital Restoration – Restored by The National Center for Jewish Film
Hilarious short starring Leibele Waldman with music by Sholom Secunda. (Dir: Sidney Goldin | USA | 1931 | 10m | Yiddish w/ English subtitles)

THE EXCEPTION

Thursday, May 18, 6:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE
In this World War II thriller, exiled German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer) is living on a secluded estate in the Netherlands. Sent to ferret out Dutch Spies, German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney), begins investigating the Kaiser and his wife (Janet McTeer), but finds himself drawn to a mysterious housemaid (Lily James, Downton Abbey). When Heinrich Himmler (Eddie Marsan) comes for an unexpected visit, secrets are revealed and allegiances tested. Adapting Alan Judd’s popular novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss, David Leveaux (5-time Tony Award nominee) sets his tale of espionage and romance against a sweeping wartime backdrop. Toronto Int’l Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival. (Dir: David Leveaux | UK/USA | 2016 | 107m | English)

“Christopher Plummer is regal, lion-in-winter fun.” –Screen Daily

FANNY’S JOURNEY / Le voyage de Fanny

Thursday, May 11, 6:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)
Q&A with Professor Shula Reinharz, Director, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute
Sunday, May 21, 2:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)

BOSTON PREMIERE
A daring, resourceful 13-year old girl leads a band of orphans through Nazi-occupied Europe in this suspenseful and poignant drama. In 1943, Fanny and her sisters were sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children. When the Nazis arrive in Italy, caretaker Madame Forman (César-winning actress Cécile de France) thrusts the children’s fate onto young Fanny who fearlessly leads eleven children on a perilous mission to reach the Swiss border. This handsome production is based on an novel by Fanny Ben-Ami. (Dir: Lola Doillon | France/Belgium | 2016 | 94m | French w/ English subtitles)

Winner of 7 Best Film Audience Awards, including at the Atlanta, San Diego and Denver Jewish Film Festivals; Winner of the Michel Award at the Hamburg Film Festival

HUMMUS! THE MOVIE

Friday, May 12, 7:00 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts
Tuesday, May 16, 5:00 pm @ Coolidge Corner Theatre

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
This deliciously smart and funny film takes us around Israel and Lebanon. From Suheila, a single Muslim woman known for her legendary hummus and her obsessively clean shop, to Jalil, a Christian Arab hipster in Ramle who runs his father’s hummus joint, to Eliyahu, a born-again Orthodox Jew who runs a hummus restaurant next to a gas station, the film revels in the joys of hummus and the way it can bring people together. But Hummus! The Movie doesn’t shy away from chickpea conflict, taking on the “hummus wars” between Lebanon and Israel and the intense competition between hummus joints in Abu Ghosh. It even features a hummus-themed reggae soundtrack. Yum!  (Dir: Oren Rosenfeld | Israel/USA | 2016 | 70m | English, Arabic & Hebrew w/ English subtitles)

MOON IN THE 12TH HOUSE

Sunday, May 7, 7:30 pm @ West Newton Cinema
Saturday, May 20, 7:00 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
In this engrossing and intriguing drama, two sisters separated in their youth meet again as young women. Having taken divergent paths—Mira works in a hip Tel Aviv nightclub and Lenny remained in their countryside home to care for their father—they grapple with the traumatic circumstances that tore them apart. Will love and vulnerability lead them to a fragile reconciliation? This captivating feature from Dorit Hakim, a previous Venice Film Festival Silver Lion winner, boasts spectacular performances by Yuval Scharf (Footnote, The Wonders, NCJF ‘14) and Yaara Pelzig (the Policeman, NCJF ‘12). Opening night film of the New York Jewish Film Festival. (Dir: Dorit Hakim | Israel | 2016 | 110m | Hebrew w/ English subtitles)

“Transcends into a beautiful expression of pure cinema…for its originality, confidence, strong performances, and elegant structure.” –Film Jury Statement Seattle Int’l FF

PARADISE  / Рай

Wednesday, May 10, 6:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)
Q&A with Professor Antony Polonsky, Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University and Chief Historian, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
Director and co-screenwriter Andrei Konchalovsky, one of Russian’s most renowned filmmakers, offers a bold, unflinching look on the Holocaust, shot in luminous black and white. Classically staged, but daring in its technical and narrative choices, the film tells the interwoven stories of several characters, including Olga a Russian woman living in Paris working for the resistance, Jules a French police chief and Nazi collaborator, and Helmut, a young aristocratic SS officer. Shortlisted for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and winner of ten international film festival awards, including the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival and the Founder’s Award at the Chicago int’l Film Festival. (Dir: Andrei Konchalovsky | Russia/Germany | 2016 | 130m | Russian, German & French w/ English subtitles)

PAST LIFE

Saturday, May 6, 7:00 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts
Tuesday, May 9, 7:00 pm @ West Newton Cinema

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE
In 1977, two Israeli sisters, Stephi (Joy Rieger, Live and Become), an aspiring classical composer and singer, and Nana (Nelly Tagar, Zero Motivation), a combative liberal journalist, investigate a wartime mystery that’s cast a shadow over their lives. As they unravel secrets from the past, they confront the taboo topic of their father’s experiences in Poland during World War II. Acclaimed Director  Avi Nesher (The Wonders, The Matchmaker, Turn Left at the End of the World, all premiered by NCJF), himself the son of Holocaust survivors, based his gripping screenplay on the wartime diaries of Dr. Baruch Milch and the film’s hauntingly beautiful score was composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff, the inspiration for the Stephi character. Official selection Toronto Int’l Film Festival & Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival. (Dir: Avi Nesher | Israel | 2016 | 110m | Hebrew, English, German & Polish w/ English subtitles)

“A gripping mystery thriller.” –Hollywood Reporter
“A Triumph. Moving, original, quirky and suspenseful.” –Jerusalem Post
“An emotionally resonant exploration of the legacy of sin.” –Playlist
“Nesher’s Best Film Yet. Profoundly moving.” –Variety

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Tuesday, May 16, 7:00 pm @ Coolidge Corner Theatre
Q&A with Brandeis Professor Thomas Doherty, author Hollywood and Hitler

75TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT SCREENING – 35MM PRINT
As nervy as it is hilarious, this screwball masterpiece from Ernst Lubitsch stars the incomparable Jack Benny and Carole Lombard as husband-and-wife thespians caught up in a dangerous spy plot in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. A Hollywood film of the boldest black humor, it went into production soon after the U.S. entered World War II. Lubitsch brilliantly balances political satire, romance, slapstick, and urgent wartime suspense in a comic high-wire act that has never been equaled. (Dir: Ernst Lubitsch | USA | 1942 | 100m | English)

“Lombard at her apex, Lubitsch at his most inspired.” –Film Critic Andrew Sarris “One of the most perfectly structured and audacious of screen comedies.” –Time Out London  
“Lubitsch’s finest achievement, certainly one of the most profound, emotionally complex comedies ever made.” –Chicago Reader

THE WEDDING PLAN

Sunday, May 14, 6:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts – MOTHER’S DAY EVENT

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE
Spirited bride-to-be Michal (Noa Kooler) is dumped by her fiancé a month before their wedding. Undeterred, she keeps her wedding date, leaving it to God to provide a suitable groom. With invitations sent, venue booked, and the clock counting down to the big day, Michal goes to increasingly elaborate lengths in her search for her (ultra-Orthodox) Mr. Right. With Oz Zehavi, Amos Tanam, Jonathan Rozen and Oded Leopold. (Dir: Rama Burshtein | Israel | 2016 | 110m | Hebrew w/ English subtitles | aka Through the Wall)

Writer-director Rama Burshtein’s follow up to her groundbreaking film Fill the Void (NCJF ’13), this funny and soulful romantic comedy is one of a kind
Winner, Best Actress & Best Screenplay Israeli Academy Awards
Winner, Best Actress Haifa Int’l Film Festival

THE WONDERFUL KINGDOM OF PAPA ALAEV

Wednesday, May 17, 7:00 @ Museum of Fine Arts
Sunday, May 21, 12:30 pm @ Museum of Fine Arts

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
Meet Tajikistan’s answer to the Jackson family. For more than 50 years the Alaev family, a multigenerational folk-rock group, has blended Eastern European, Jewish and Roma influences into unforgettable performances. After the fall of the Soviet Union, their benevolent patriarch, Papa Allo, moved his clan to Israel, where he continues to rule with an iron tambourine. As generations clash, the show must go on, but who will lead the band? Set to a blazing tribal soundtrack, drama and drumbeats sing out from every entertaining exchange in this grand family affair. Enter the Kingdom and feel the beat. (Dir: Tal Barda & Noam Pinchas | Israel | 2016 | 74m | Hebrew, Russian, Tajik w/ English subtitles)

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