2011 Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

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.

Official site.

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

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