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Festival Updates - That's a Wrap!

Press Coverage: Boston Globe: "NCJF Jewish Film Festival Has Strong Lineup, Point of View"
Boston Globe: "Forbidden Films at NCJF Looks at the Dark Side of the Silver Screen"
Boston Globe:
"MARK YOUR CALENDAR: TOP PICKS"
Films A to Z (View Festival by Date Here)

Thursday, May 7, 7:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)

Screening Complete

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Monday, May 11, 5:00 pm
Kendall Square Cinema
Screening Complete

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À la Vie (To Life)

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE

Guest May 7 & 11: Shula Reinharz, Director Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

Veteran French writer/director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann (He’s My Girl, Man is a Woman, Not Everybody’s Lucky Enough to Have Communist Parents) sets his engaging new drama in postwar Paris where Hélène (Julie Depardieu), a young Auschwitz survivor rebuilds her life while searching for her friends Lily and Rose (Johanna ter Steege, Suzanne Clément). When the women are finally reunited, they share a watershed vacation in the seaside town of Berck-Plage, enjoying the intimacies of life, love and faith. This emotionally complex film about the sustaining power of women’s friendship was inspired by the director’s mother and her annual vacation with the friends she made in the camps. Don’t miss this masterful film starring a trio of award-winning actresses.

"Zilberman’s À la Vie is delicate and profound, just like his mother’s gaze probably was, and with respect it tells us about the womens’ first meeting after the hell that was the concentration camp. The week they spend together on the French coast is an infectious ode to life, a collective ritual to overcome the horror through friendship, irony, the most intimate confessions and a desire to look towards the future." –Cineuropa

Director: Jean-Jacques Zilbermann | France | 2014 | 104m | French w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

SPONSORS: The Boston French Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts & French Consulate in Boston

 

Thursday, April 30, 5:15 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Saturday, May 9, 2:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)

Screening Complete

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The Art Dealer (L’Antiquaire)

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE - Opening Night

Welcome April 30: Emmanuelle Marchand, Cultural Attachée, Consulate General of France in Boston

A stylish Parisian thriller set in the murky world of Nazi-looted art. A young journalist, Esther Stegmann (Anna Sigalevitch, The Piano Teacher), finds herself caught up in a web of betrayal and complicity as she investigates stolen family paintings, and uncovers a story that has been carefully buried for decades by those closest to her. French director François Margolin (The Flight of the Red Balloon) lends the lightest of touches to this dark tale, with sumptuous and beautifully shot backdrops of Paris and ravishing music to match. Also starring Michel Bouquet (Renoir) and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing. Winner Jury Award Best Film, San Diego Jewish Film Festival

"A family's unmentionable secrets are interwoven with modern European history, and in which memory, identity, art and imagination dance together and intermingle. The cast, which includes some superstars as well as upcoming actors, encompasses three generations: 'I wanted to make a movie about the different levels of memory, to compare different generations born in their own time,' explained director Margolin." -Cineuropa

Director: François Margolin | France | 2014 | 95m | French w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis University

SPONSORS: Boston French Film Festival of the Museum of Fine Arts & French Consulate in Boston

 

Thursday, April 30, 7:30 pm
West Newton Cinema
Screening Complete


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Friday, May 8, 7:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)
Screening Complete

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Dancing Arabs (Aravim Rokdim)

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE - Opening Night

Welcome April 30: Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England

First love, school bullies, British New Wave… and SCUD missiles. This bittersweet drama set in the late 1980s from acclaimed Israeli director Eran Riklis (Syrian Bride, Human Resources Manager, NCJF’s JF.2011) adapts two semi-autobiographical novels by Sayed Kashua (Haaretz columnist and Arab Labor creator). Eyad (Tawfeek Barhom), a whip-smart but introverted Israeli-Arab boy earns a scholarship to Jerusalem’s most prestigious boarding school. Isolated and lonely at first, Eyad slowly overcomes social, cultural, and language barriers, and finds romance with classmate Naomi. Soon, though, personal tragedy and politics intrude on his adolescent idyll, and Eyad must make impossible decisions about who he will be in a divided country.

Dancing Arabs had its U.S. Premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and was nominated for four Israeli Academy Awards. The film co-stars Ali Suliman (The Attack), Yael Abecassis (Seven Days, Father's Footsteps) and Michael Moshonov (Policeman, Lost Islands).

"A heartfelt, moving film..the performances are uniformly excellent. Anyone who sees the film will understand far more about the reality [in Israel] than they could learn from any article or editorial." –Jerusalem Post

Director: Eran Riklis | Israel | 2014 | 105m | Hebrew & Arabic w/ English subtitles. (USA Release title: A Borrowed Identity)

CO-PRESENTED BY: Israel Campus Roundtable

SPONSOR: Hebrew Language Program at Brandeis University

 

Sunday, May 3, 11:00 am
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Farewell Herr Schwarz
(Schnee von gestern)

EVENT SCREENING WITH DIRECTOR

Guest: Director Yael Reuveny

This cinematic journey about buried family secrets and the legacy of the Holocaust won best documentary awards at the Haifa Int’l and DOK Leipzig film festivals. At the end of WWII, Reuveny’s grandmother Michla planned to meet her brother Feiv’ke at the Lodz train station. He never showed up. Fifty years later, Reuveny traces how three generations of her family are haunted by the meeting that never happened. Michla ended up in Israel, while Feiv’ke, believed dead, remained in Germany. The Israeli and German sides of the family lived unaware of each other until this film.

“Great drama and fateful twists of a Greek tragedy.” –Haaretz

Director: Yael Reuveny | Germany/Israel | 96m | 2014 | German, Hebrew & English w/ English Subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Goethe-Institut Boston & German Consulate & Israel Consulate Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Germany-Israel Diplomatic Relations

SPONSORS: Center for German & European Studies at Brandeis University; Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston; Israel Campus Roundtable

 

Monday, May 11, 7:15 pm
Kendall Square Cinema
Screening Complete

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Félix & Meira (Félix et Meira)

SNEAK PREVIEW - Massachusetts Premiere

Welcome: Aaron Annable, Consul General of Canada in Boston & Marianne Bonnard, Québec Government Office in Boston

A poignant story of an unconventional romance between two people living blocks apart, but in vastly different worlds. Meira (Hadas Yaron, Fill the Void), a Hasidic wife and mother, and Félix (Martin Dubreuil), a secular loner mourning the death of his estranged father, meet in a kosher bakery in Montreal. What starts as an innocent friendship becomes more serious as the two strangers find comfort in one another. As Félix opens Meira’s eyes to the world beyond her tight-knit Orthodox community, her desire for self-discovery becomes harder for her to ignore.

Winner: Canada Goose Award, Toronto International Film Festival; Szpancer Award, Haifa International Film Festival; Best Actress & Best Actor, Torino Film Festival

NEW YORK TIMES - CRITIC'S PICK!
"Tenderly observed love story...about the undeniable need to feel alive."

"Exquisite in its own way...achieves something truly unique and noteworthy." –New Republic

"Powerful...recalls Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love." –Cult Montreal

"Imbued with a longing and desire that is impossible not be swept up in." –Indiewire

Listen to NPR interview with Luzer Twersky about his role in Félix and Meira (starts at 14:46)

Director: Maxime Giroux | Canada | 2014 | 105m | French, English & Yiddish w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Israel Campus Roundtable, Consulate General of Canada in Boston, Québec Government Office in Boston

 

Wednesday, May 6, 7:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)
Screening Complete

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Forbidden Films: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film (Verbotene Filme)

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE

Guests: NCJF Directors Sharon Pucker Rivo and Lisa Rivo in conversation with Ann Millin, historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Thomas Doherty, author, Hollywood and Hitler

The National Center for Jewish Film is the official archive repository for Nazi propaganda films in the United States.

Between 1933 and 1945, Germany’s Third Reich produced more than 1,200 feature films, many of which were blatant Nazi propaganda. A handful were noxious antisemitic films. Today, forty of the Reich’s propaganda films remain banned from public exhibition in Germany due to their incendiary content. Forbidden Films includes clips from many of these rarely-seen films and asks fraught questions about why, and under what conditions, these films should be made available to the public.

Director: Felix Moeller | Germany | 2014 | 94m | German, French, Hebrew & English w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Sarnat Center for the Study of Anti-Jewishness at Brandeis University; Center for German & European Studies at Brandeis University

SPONSORS: Goethe-Institut Boston;
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

 

Sunday, May 10, 12:00 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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His Wife's Lover
(Zayn Vaybs Lubovnik)

BOSTON PREMIERE
New 35MM Restoration
by The National Center for Jewish Film!

Mother's Day Special Event
Guests: NCJF's Sharon Pucker Rivo & Lisa Rivo

Billed as “The First Jewish Musical Comedy Talking Picture,” this fast-paced 1931 comedy stars popular Yiddish comedian Ludwig Satz in a rare surviving film performance. Directed by Sidney Goldin (East and West, The Cantor’s Son) and shot on NYC’s Lower East Side from a script by Sheyne Rokhl Simkoff, the film revels in its role reversals and love triangles that comment on gender issues of its day. When the uncle of matinee idol Eddie Wien (Satz) claims that women are only motivated by a fat pocketbook, Eddie sets out to prove him wrong, wooing shop girl Golde Blumberg while disguised as a repulsive millionaire. Read More

“Tough and racy.... a tour de force for Satz.”–J. Hoberman, Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds

“Gifted tummler Satz prefigures mainstream American clowns Sid Caesar and Jerry Lewis.” –Time Magazine

Director: Sidney M. Goldin | USA | 1931 | 80m | Yiddish w/ new English subtitles

 

Sunday, May 10, 7:30 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Friday, May 15, 7:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)

Screening Complete

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The Kindergarten Teacher (Haganenet)

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE

Lauded at the Cannes Film Festival and fresh from Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films, Nadav Lapid’s follow-up to his explosive debut film The Policeman (NCJF’s JF.2012), is a brilliant, inventive drama told in this auteur’s singular voice. Tel Aviv kindergarten teacher Nira (Sarit Larry) becomes obsessed with one of her charges, Yoav (Avi Shnaidman), a gentle 5-year-old with an otherworldly gift for declaiming perfectly formed poems on love and loss. Yoav’s verses—Lapid’s own childhood poems—awaken in Nira a protective, but increasingly extreme, impulse to shield him from a banal, materialistic culture that has little use for poetry and art. Beautiful, elusive, and unsettling, The Kindergarten Teacher will stay with you long after you’ve left the theater.

“Often thrilling to behold…confirms Lapid as a talent to be reckoned with.” –Hollywood Reporter

Indiewire's Critic's Pick - One of 7 Hidden Gems from New Directors/New Films: "Superb performances firmly anchor The Kindergarten Teacher in reality as Lapid's premise swells to bizarre proportions. Masterful cinematography adds disquieting tension to the narrative...It's a stirring investigation into the place of beauty and art in our modern lives and the void that its absence engenders." –Indiewire

Director: Nadav Lapid | Israel/France | 2014 | 119m | Hebrew w/ English subtitles

Please note: Film contains nudity

CO-PRESENTED BY: Israel Campus Roundtable

SPONSOR: Hebrew Language Program at Brandeis University

 

Friday, May 1, 7:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)

Screening Complete

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Sunday, May 10, 5:00 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Mr. Kaplan

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE

In this eminently likeable, droll comedy, Jacob Kaplan lives an ordinary life in Montevideo. Like many of his Jewish friends, Jacob fled Europe for South America during World War II. About to turn 76, he’s become rather grumpy and restless. Adventure calls, however, when he suspects a mysterious German beach bar owner might be a runaway Nazi. Setting himself on a secret mission, Kaplan recruits Contreras, a more loyal than honest former police officer, to help him investigate. The opening night film of the BFI London Film Festival, this entertaining black comedy expertly distills a potent mixture of emotional depth and deadpan comedy.

Uruguay’s 2014 Academy Award entry for Best Foreign Language Film

“Hilarious. Walks a tightrope between light farce and tragi-comedy.” –Florida Sun-Sentinel

"★★★★! Beautiful. I was struck by humor, color, light, composition, and music reminiscent of Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry." –Reel Georgia

Director: Álvaro Brechner | Uruguay | 2014 | 98m | Spanish w/ English subtitles

SPONSOR: Argentinean Jewish Relief Committee

 

Tuesday, May 5, 7:00 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Wednesday, May 13, 3:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)
Screening Complete

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My Italian Secret:
The Forgotten Heroes

BOSTON PREMIERE - Event with Director

Guests May 5: Director Oren Jacoby and James Carroll, Boston Globe columnist & author Constantine’s Sword

Guest May 13: Nancy Harrowitz, Boston University

An estimated 80 percent of Italy’s Jews survived WWII thanks, in part, to Italian citizens who risked their lives defying the Nazis to save their Jewish neighbors. Among the figures spotlighted by theater director and documentary filmmaker Oren Jacoby (Constantine’s Sword, Shakespeare Sessions, The Irish in America, Sam Shepard: Stalking Himself, Master Thief) is Tour de France cycling champion Gino Bartali, who hid a Jewish family in his home and smuggled fake identity documents in his bicycle frame on behalf of monasteries sheltering Jews. Other remarkable stories include that of Dr. Giovanni Borromeo who invented a fictitious disease to protect the Rome hospital where he was hiding Jews. Narrated by Isabella Rossellini.

Director: Oren Jacoby | USA | 2014 | 93m | English & Italian w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Facing History and Ourselves

SPONSORS: Israel Campus Roundtable; Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University

 

Saturday, May 2, 2:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)
Screening Complete

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Sunday, May 10, 2:30 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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The Outrageous Sophie Tucker

BOSTON PREMIERE

Guest May 2: Joyce Antler, author You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother

Guests May 10: Producers Sue & Lloyd Ecker
Spend Mother's Day with The Last of the Red Hot Mamas!

Before Madonna, Bette Midler, Marilyn Monroe or Mae West, there was Sophie Tucker! Nicknamed “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” Tucker ruled vaudeville, Broadway, radio, and TV in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Russia in 1887 into a poor Orthodox Jewish family, Tucker (nee Sonya Kalish) fought her way to stardom with an infectious mix of blues-inflected songs, irreverent humor, business acumen, and bawdy showmanship. Enjoy interviews with Tony Bennett, Barbara Walters, and others, along with wonderful archival material drawn from Tucker’s 400 (!) scrapbooks—100 of which are archived at Brandeis University.

“Hugely enjoyable. Will prompt an outburst of sophiemania.” –Toronto Star

Director: William Gazecki | Prod: Susan & Lloyd Ecker | USA | 2014 | 96m | English

CO-PRESENTED BY: Jewish Women’s Archive

SPONSORS: Brandeis University Alumni Association; Brandeis National Committee

 

Sunday, May 3, 7:15 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Phoenix

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE - Sneak Preview

In this expertly orchestrated neo-noir from Christian Petzold (Barbara), Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss), a Jewish concentration-camp survivor who’s undergone facial surgery, searches for her husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) in the rubble of postwar Berlin. While she finds him at the seedy cabaret The Phoenix, his inability to recognize her, and her refusal to suspect his motives, are the first in a series of twists that build to a stunning climax.

“Both a powerful allegory for post-war regeneration and a rich Hitchcockian tale of mistaken identity, Phoenix once again proves that filmmaker Christian Petzold and his favorite star, Nina Hoss, are clearly one of the best director-actor duos working in movies today.” –Hollywood Reporter

“Stunning… masterpiece… an amazing piece of work that transcends historical document to become art… It’s unforgettable.” –RogerEbert.com

Director: Christian Petzold | Germany | 2014 | 98m | German w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Goethe-Institut Boston; Center for German & European Studies at Brandeis University

 

Thursday, May 14, 4:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)

Screening Complete

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Thursday, May 14, 7:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Remis)
Screening Complete


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Raise the Roof

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE - Event with Directors

Guests: Filmmakers Yari & Cary Wolinsky and film subjects Rick & Laura Brown, moderated by MassArts's Matthew Hincman

”How often do you get a chance to reach deep into history and bring something back?” --Rick Brown. After falling in love with images of the magnificent, mural-covered wooden synagogues of 18th century Poland—the last of which were destroyed by the Nazis—MassArt professors Rick and Laura Brown set out to build a replica using only period tools and techniques. Aided by a team of 300 artisans and students, the show-stopping building was realized, and installed as the centerpiece of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw. Boston filmmakers Yari and Cary Wolinsky’s beautifully photographed film chronicles this ambitious project against the backdrop of the 1000-year history of Jews in Poland. Read More

Watch WCVB's Chronicle profile on the film

Directors: Yari & Cary Wolinsky | USA | 2015 | 85m | English

CO-PRESENTED BY: Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis University

SPONSOR: American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies

 

Wednesday, May 13, 7:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts (Alfond)
Screening Complete

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Julius Rosenwald with Booker T. Washington in 1915.

Rosenwald

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE - Event with Director

Guests: Filmmaker Aviva Kempner in conversation with Peter Ascoli, grandson and biographer of Julius Rosenwald

Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world), the social justice teachings of his rabbi Emil Hirsch, and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used the wealth he built as part-owner of Sears and Roebuck to become one of America’s most effective philanthropists. By his death in 1932, Rosenwald had funded the building of 5,400 schools across the segregated American South, providing 660,000 black children with access to education. Recipients of his seminal Rosenwald Fund for African American Artists included Gordon Parks Jr., Augusta Savage, Dr. Charles Drew, Katherine Dunham, Ralph Ellison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes. An important new film from Aviva Kempner (The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg).

Interviewees include: Julian Bond, Congressman John Lewis, Maya Angelou, Rabbi David Saperstein, Benjamin Jealous, A’lelia Bundles, Eugene Robinson, George Wolfe, David Levering Lewis, Ossie Davis, David Levering Lewis, Rita Dove, David Driskell, Congressman Danny Davis & Gordon Parks.

Currently on view at the MFA: Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott

Director: Aviva Kempner | USA | 2015 | 90m | English

SPONSORS: American Jewish Historical Society New England Archives; Israel Campus Roundtable; International Center for Ethics, Justice & Public Life at Brandeis University; Boston NAACP

 

Sunday, May 3, 5:00 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem

MASSACHUSETTS PREMIERE

Guest: Hankus Netsky, composer of Theodore Bikel original score

Portraits of two beloved icons—Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel—are woven together in this enchanting new documentary. The two men have much in common: wit, wisdom and talent, all shot through with deep humanity and Yiddishkeit. Theodore Bikel, the unstoppable performer whose career spans more than 150 screen roles (including an Oscar-nominated turn in The Defiant Ones) and countless stage and musical productions, is also the foremost interpreter of Sholom Aleichem’s work. Read More

“The grandest event...must-see.”
–San Jose Mercury News

"A worthy celebration of performance, storytelling, culture and endurance. And did I mention Bikel is a charmer?"Arts Atlanta

Director: John Lollos | USA | 2014 | 75m | English

SPONSORS: Department of Near Eastern & Judaic Studies at Brandeis University; New Center for Arts & Culture; Boston Jewish Music Festival

 

Sunday, May 3, 1:30 pm
West Newton Cinema

Screening Complete

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The Zionist Idea

SNEAK PREVIEW - Event with Director

Guests: Director Oren Rudavsky in conversation with David B. Starr, Founder & Director of Tzion

This ambitious exploration of one of the most influential political ideologies of the modern era details Zionism’s origins in the late-19th-century European shtetls through present day events. Resisting one-sided and simplistic historical interpretations, Oren Rudavsky (Hiding and Seeking, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America) and Joseph Dorman (Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness) take a multifaceted approach to a polarizing subject, offering insightful, candid commentary from a range of Israeli and Palestinian thinkers, and a wealth of exceptional archival footage. Amid unceasing religious conflicts in the Middle East, it is crucial to better understand the history, meaning, and future of the movement.

“Thoughtful and invaluable…a significant cinematic achievement.” –Hollywood Reporter

Directors: Oren Rudavsky & Joseph Dorman | USA | 2015 | 150m | Hebrew, Arabic & English w/ English subtitles

CO-PRESENTED BY: Israel Campus Roundtable

Program text by The National Center for Jewish Film

 
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