1970/Italy – Drama, Dir: Vittorio De Sica, 95 mins
This classic Italian drama set in the late 1930s is based on the book of the same name by Giorgio Bassani. It focuses on the fate of the intellectual Finzi-Contini family, wealthy Jewish aristocrats who live on an idyllic estate in Ferrara. Siblings Alberto and Micol regularly hold parties with their friends, largely sheltered from the growing anti-Semitism in their country. When the Fascist movement becomes stronger, however, it affects everyone in the orbit of the family forcing them to open the gates of their walled-off dreamworld.
El Gusto. 2011 ‧ France/Ireland/Algeria ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h28 ‧ dir: Safinez Bousbia
History tore them apart, music reunited them. El Gusto explores a form of Algerian music that once was popular, but now is in danger of dying out, telling the story of a group of Jewish and Muslim musicians who were separated by history over 50 years ago but were reunited to share, once again, their common passion: Chaabi – the effervescent popular music of Algeria.
Somewhere in Europe. 1948 ‧ Hungary ‧ Drama ‧ 1h45 ‧ dir: Géza Radványi
A band of runaways and orphans of the war scour the countryside in search of food and shelter in devastated post-war Hungary. They are taken in by an eccentric former concert pianist who has been emotionally and spiritually destroyed by war and is hiding out in a ruined castle. Both children and adult find a renewed sense of community and hope, until a bitter encounter with "civilized" society proves it is as cruel as ever. ‘Somewhere in Europe’ is a rediscovered treasure that compares favourably to the greatest of Italian neo-realist films.
Noodle. 2007 ‧ Israel ‧ Comedy/Drama ‧ 1h40 ‧ dir: Ayelet Menahemi
When a Chinese woman working in Israel for a flight attendant is suddenly deported for overstaying her work visa, her lack of Hebrew-language skills makes it impossible for her to convince the authorities that she has a young child with her. Miri, her employer and twice-widowed in the Arab-Israeli wars, has been going through the motions of living, detached from a real connection to life itself. Her decision to help reunite the child nicknamed Noodle with his mother, now back in Beijing, ends up helping her in ways Miri herself could not have expected.
Leon the Pig Farmer. 1992 ‧ UK ‧ Comedy ‧ 1h38 ‧ dir: Vadim Jean & Gary Sinyor
An irreverent comedy from the production company of Monty Python's Eric Idle, this is a cult classic in Europe. The movie's zany story is set in motion when Leon, a sensitive Jewish boy from London, accidentally learns that he is the product of artificial insemination. His search for his biological parents leads him to the still more startling discovery of a sperm bank mix-up proving that he is the son of a Yorkshire pig farmer! The inevitable confusion results in a comic Jewish identity crisis.
The Truce. 1997 ‧ Italy ‧ Drama/History ‧ 2h5 ‧ dir: Francesco Rosi
Based on his autobiography of the same name, the film details the long and arduous journey home of Italian prisoner of war Primo Levi after the liberation of Auschwitz at the end of World War II. A chemist before being captured by the Nazis, Levi is one of the first prisoners to leave the death camp upon its fall at the hands of Soviet forces in 1945. However, his route back to his home in the Italian city of Turin is torturous, with numerous stops throughout Eastern Europe. This film adapts Levi’s great book ‘The Awakening’ for the screen.
Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amselem. 2014 ‧ France/Israel ‧ Drama ‧ 1h56 ‧ dir: Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz
An Israeli woman fights for three years to obtain a divorce from her devout husband, who refuses to grant permission to dissolve the marriage. Before us unfolds the story of a woman wronged by men and God, yet finally, in a sense, redeemed by cinema. Despite the seemingly unfilmic nature of this inert, even claustrophobic scenario, the story mesmerizes.
Remember Baghdad. 2016 ‧ UK ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h9 ‧ dir: Fiona Murphy
"Jews, Muslims, Christians - we were all Iraqis - it was paradise." On the 100th anniversary of the British invasion in 1917, ‘Remember Baghdad’ is the untold story of the Jews in Iraq, an unmissable insight into how the country developed from a completely new perspective. Five Jewish families look back on the history of Baghdad’s once vibrant community. This is an illuminating documentary composed of intimate interviews, extensive personal and news archive films, as well as footage from Iraq today, letting us follow one Iraqi Jew on a journey home, back to Baghdad.
The screening will be followed by a Q & A with Edwin Shuker, the protagonist of the film.
The Jazz Singer. 1927 ‧ USA ‧ Black & white Musical Drama ‧ 1h29 ‧ dir: Richard Fleischer
Young Jakie Rabinowitz loves jazz and ragtime, and wants to be a performer. But his cantor father orders him to carry on the family tradition. Jakie tries his hand anyway, only to be discovered by neighbour Moisha Yudelson and kicked out of the house. A decade later, an older Jakie has followed his dream, changed his name and found love with performer Mary, but he still wants to win his father over. As the first feature-length motion picture with not only a synchronized recorded music score, but also lip-synchronous singing and speech, ‘The Jazz Singer’ heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and ended the silent film era.
Rashevki's Tango. 2003 ‧ Belgium/France/Luxembourg ‧Drama ‧ 1h30 ‧ dir: Sam Garbarski
The story begins with the death of Rosa, grandmother and matriarch of the Rashevski family. She detested religion and rabbis, yet she reserved herself a plot in the Jewish section of the cemetery. Now the Rashevskis are adrift—asking themselves questions they had never thought about before, and they cannot see eye-to-eye on anything. The ever-popular question “What does it mean to be Jewish?” gets another parsing from the German-born Belgian director in this gentle comedy drama.
Hill Start. 2014 ‧ Israel ‧ Drama/Comedy ‧ 1h30 ‧ dir: Oren Stern
When Ora, the matriarch of a family goes into a coma after a car accident, her children and other members of the extended family will do anything to bring her back. The viewer meets plastic surgeons, a wheelchair-bound marathon coach, a tough private investigator, a yoga instructor, a sensitive belly dancer and a big star in the Arab cinema.
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