The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival has never been known as a conventional fest, what with its former status as a year-round event. Now in its 31st year (yes, they are the longest running film festival in Philadelphia and thus deserve your attention), the PJFF has a 12-film slate that kicks off this weekend at the Gershman Y and then moves around between a variety of venues. First I’ll run down the schedule/locations, then I’ll group the films into genres…
SAT, NOV 5, 8 PM, Gershman Y : My Best Enemy
SUN, NOV 6, 2:30 PM, Prince : Where I Stand: The Hank Greenspun Story
SUN, NOV 6, 7:30 PM, Bryn Mawr Film Institute : Little Rose
MON, NOV 7, 7 PM, WHYY : Prisoner of Her Past
WED, NOV 9, 7 PM, Museum of American Jewish History : Remembrance
SAT, NOV 12, 8 PM, Gershman Y : Restoration
SUN, NOV 13, 2:30 PM, Prince : Berlin ’36
SUN, NOV 13, 7:30 PM, Hiway : I Miss You
MON, NOV 14, 7 PM, I-House : Invisible
WED, NOV 16, 7 PM, Museum of American Jewish History : Jews and Baseball
THU, NOV 17, 6 PM, Christ Church : My So-Called Enemy
SAT, NOV 19, 8 PM, Gershman Y : The Round Up
So that’s 12 films at 8 venues over the course of 15 days. Again, not your conventional festival, but, as I’ve demonstrated in my Unknown Japan series, I encourage the showcasing of our city’s wide selection of screening venues. Now for the films:
Jews and Baseball : Self-explanatory.
My So-Called Enemy : Follows young female leaders for seven years.
Prisoner of Her Past : A journalist researches his mother’s WWII experience.
Where I Stand : Doc on the controversial publisher of the Las Vegas Sun.
Berlin ’36 : A Jewish female high jumper trains with the Aryans.
I Miss You : An Argentinian Jew flees from the country’s late 70s military dictatorship.
Invisible : Political activists intermingle with a historic rape case.
Little Rose : Romantic drama set in late 60s anti-Semitic Communist Poland.
My Best Enemy : Set in 1939, a Jewish art dealer vs. an SS officer, childhood friends.
Remembrance : Children escape a concentration camp and reunite years later.
Restoration : Sundance-winning drama concerning a furniture restorer’s son.
The Round Up : Nazi-occupied France in 1942, stars Jean Reno.
A lot of politically-charged and WWII-set films. I was on the screening committee for the Festival and I thus don’t think it’s appropriate to recommend particular titles, but if you only get a chance to see one movie then I highly endorse Restoration, which is a perfect example of what “Jewish cinema” can and should aspire towards (I’d also like to note that I tried my best to get Israel’s first slasher film, Rabies, screened, but to no avail).
Also, Cinedelphia will be hosting a Q&A via Skype with the director of Invisible on Monday, November 14 at the I-House.