Tuesday, March 31 ~ 7:00 pm
Friends From France
Set in the Europe of 1979, the Friends From France, Carole and Jerome, are twenty-somethings who go on an organized trip to Odessa, behind the Iron Curtain of the former Soviet Union. By day, they behave like simple tourists, they visit museums and monuments. But, come the evening, they slip away from the group and secretly meet “refuseniks,” Jews persecuted by the Soviet regime for wanting to leave the country. The pair discovers an underground world that is equally cruel and absurd. While Carole is motivated by political commitment and a taste for risk, for Jérôme, the real motivation behind this trip is Carole.
France | French (English subtitles) | 100 min. | 2013
Directors: Anne Weil and Philippe Kotlarski
Monday, March 23 ~ 7:00 pm ~ Documentary Double Feature
Make Me a Match
Make Me A Match is the portrait of three Jewish-Orthodox singles –– their matchmakers and their effort to stay loyal to tradition. Torn between their commitment to their Jewish culture and their own dreams, three 30-somethings, Vered, David and Ortal, try with humor and defiance to stand the social pressure while staying true to themselves. Make Me A Match tells the story of a search for love which turns into a search for identity between tradition and modernity.
Germany | Hebrew and English with Subtitles | 58 min. | 2013
Director: Wendla Noelle
Sacred Sperm is an eye-opening documentary explaining the concept of sacred sperm within the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community which considers new life pure if born of “sacred sperm” and the spilling of sperm murder. In this documentary Director/Narrator Or Gruder shares his journey as he tries to fully understand the concept and come to terms with how to raise his son in good faith. This sensitive film also explores the difficulties worshippers face, and how they work through them with support from a genuinely loving community. The film highlights how we are all vulnerable in some way: we watch as Gruder, who became Orthodox as an adult, asks himself, “Am I worthy of teaching my son?”
Israel | Hebrew with English subtitles | 60 min. | 2014
Director: Ori Gruder
Sunday, March 29 ~ 7:00 pm
The trial story of Viviane Amsalem's five year fight to obtain her divorce in front of the only legal authority competent for divorce cases in Israel, the Rabbinical Court. Viviane and her lawyer must face the uncompromising attitude of Elisha, the husband, who doesn’t even respond to the rabbis convocations. When he is finally obliged to come to court, he keeps refusing the divorce (Gett) even though they've been separated for years. Witnesses are called, the procedure drags on, while Viviane is still unable to recover her dignity.
France, Israel, Germany | French, Arabic and Hebrew (English subtitles) | 105 min. | 2014
Directors: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz
Sunday, March 29 ~ 3:00 pm
East and West
This delightful comedy opens as Morris Brown, a New Yorker better acquainted with his checkbook than his prayerbook, returns to Galicia with his very American daughter, Mollie (the incomparable Molly Picon) for a family wedding. The bride, daughter of his traditionally observant brother, and Mollie, whose exuberant antics fill the film, could not be more different. But Mollie unexpectedly meets her match, an engaging young yeshiva scholar who forsakes tradition and joins the secular world to win her heart.
Austria | Silent with English and Yiddish intertitles | 85 min. | 1923
Directors: Sidney M. Goldin and Ivan Abramson
Saturday, March 28 ~ 8:30 pm
Hit’Abdut is an action thriller that depicts the final hours of Oded Tsur before he must end his life. Oded was in financial trouble with his failing business and was forced to take out a loan from a ruthless loan shark, Muki Zaken. Muki forced Oded to purchase a life insurance policy and commit suicide by 9:00 pm that day in order to repay his debt. Failing to do so by exactly that time would result in Muki executing his wife and children, as well. This action packed thriller leads us on a wild goose chase around a "un holy" dark Jerusalem, during a 24 hour period, where all hell breaks loose.
Israel | Hebrew (English subtitles) | 129 min. | 2014
Director: Benny Ferdman
Monday, March 30 ~ 7:00 pm
A Borrowed Identity
The story of Eyad, a boy who grew up in an Arab town in Israel, and was given the chance to go to a prestigious Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem - the first and only Arab to be accepted to it. Eyad desperately tries to fit in with his Jewish piers and Israeli society. He develops a friendship with Jonathan, a boy suffering from muscular dystrophy, and gradually becomes part of Jonathan's family, lending strength to Edna, Jonathan's single parent.
Eyad falls in love with a Jewish girl - Naomi - and their relationship develops in secret until it falls apart and Eyad leaves the school. Eyad is an outsider, but he wants to belong, not really knowing to whom and to what ... and so he realizes that he must sacrifice his identity in order to be accepted. He has to take a decision that will change his life forever.
Israel | Hebrew-Arabic (English subtitles) | 105 min. | 2014
Director: Eran Riklis
Tuesday, March 24 ~ 7:00 pm ~ Director Double Feature
The Hidden Spring
At first glance, it seems that there can be nothing in common between Sh'aul, an old homeless man who is addicted to narcotics and suicidal, and a young hitchhiker named Y'honatan, who is trying to overcome the loss of his best friend to suicide. But a chance encounter unites them in a mutual desire to search for the essence of life. Together they go through a journey in which we delve into the hearts of lonely redemption seekers.
Israel | Hebrew with English subtitles | 33 min. | 2013
Director: Yakov Yanai Lein
A Feature Length Documentary Film ~ Title TBA
Israel | Hebrew with English subtitles | 85 min. | 2014
Director: Yakov Yanai Lein
Thursday, March 26 ~ 7:00 pm
Farewell, Herr Schwarz
Winner of the Best Documentary Prize at the Haifa International Film Festival, director Yael Reuveny's Farewell Herr Schwarz is a cinematic journey about buried family secrets, the Holocaust (from a third generation perspective) and how it is never too late to reclaim your heritage. Siblings Michla and Feiv'ke Schwarz survived the Holocaust but never reunited after the war. Michla moved to the soon-to-be-founded Jewish state in the Middle East and started a family there.
Her brother Feiv'ke considered dead returned to East Germany, married a German woman and inexplicably lived amidst the concentration camp ruins where he was once a prisoner. The Israeli and German sides to the family lived unaware of each other for half a century until first time filmmaker Yael Reuveny probed exactly what happened to her family in 1945
Germany | English | 96 min. | 2013
Director: Yael Reuveny
Thursday, March 26 ~ 5:30 pm
There and Here
When Harry Klaussner, a holocaust survivor who hid his past to become a pilot went to the flight academy, he befriended navigator Shaia Harsit. The two spent hours up in the air, but only after 60 years Harry discovered that Shaia too survived the holocaust as a child. They aren't the only ones: Out of the 330 Israeli pilots in 1956, over 130 were holocaust survives who hid their true identity. It was their way to survive in Israel too. This is the story of four of them who venture out on a journey throughout their lost childhood, silent youth and glory days as pilots, to tell the story of those who came from there and became the heart of the Israeli dream here.
Israel | Hebrew with English subtitles | 56 min. | 2014
Director: Avida Livny
Sunday, March 22 ~ 7:00 pm
In January of 2006, a beautiful young woman walks into a Parisian cellphone shop, looks around, and asks for the sale's attendant's phone number. Later, she calls asking to meet. Who could have known that Ilan, the 23 year old man, was flirting with death? The next time his family hears from him is through a cryptic online message from kidnappers demanding a ransom.
French director Alexandre Arcady delivers one of the most “wrenching and politically astute” films to come out of France (Screen Daily). Based on a book co-written by Ilan’s mother, Ruth Halimi, Arcady’s cinematic adaptation offers a searing insight into his vicious ordeal, the violent world of the gang of Barbarians, and the harrowing experience of his family waiting and hoping the Police would save their son. For 24 days the Police, insistent upon handling the case as a normal for-ransom kidnapping, fail to recognize the anti-Semitic hatred of his abductors. Many opportunities to save Ilan are missed or squandered as his family receive nearly 700 phone calls, insults, threats, photographs and sound recording of their tortured son.
France | French with English subtitles | 108 min. | 2014
Director: Alexandre Arcady
The best of international cinema will return to Gainesville in March when the Jewish Film Festival takes over the Hippodrome Cinema for its fifth year! The Jewish Council of North Central Florida is proud to once again partner with the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida to offer a week of compelling and provocative films. The festival will kick off on Sunday, March 22 and will run through Tuesday, March 31. All screenings will be held at 7:00 pm, unless otherwise noted.
The Gainesville Jewish Film Festival is made possible, in part, by these generous sponsors:
Dr. Steven Slutsky, Michael & Phyllis Warren, Albert & Meredith Bacharach,The Samuel R. "Bud" Shorstein Chair of American Jewish Culture and Society, The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica, The Norman and Irma Braman Chair in Holocaust Studies, The Gary Gerson Lecture Series, The Harry Rich Endowment, UF Jewish Student Union Jewish Awareness Month, Florida's Dept. of Education Commissioner's Task Force on Holocaust Education.