Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jewish Film Festival lineup announced

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has announced the full program lineup and schedule for its 28th edition, running July 24th through August 11th at venues around Frisco Bay.

On an initial perusal of the offerings, three films jump out at me: my olympic summer is a terrific short that I saw and wrote about at Sundance earlier this year. Anvil! the Story of Anvil is another film that played Sundance. There was tinnitus-inducing word-of-mouth for this documentary about a persistent Canadian heavy metal band on the wintry streets of Park City. I figured that with that much positive buzz I'd surely have another shot at seeing it in Frisco, and here it is, to my mild surprise, at the SFJFF. None of the "you've gotta see this one" reviews I heard from festival volunteers and filmgoers mentioned that the band members are Jews.

Finally, Chris Marker's 1960 Description of a Struggle is the jumping-off point for Israeli filmmaker Dan Geva's new Description of a Memory. The Marker film won prizes at the Berlin Film Festival in 1961, and though it's little seen today, it still can stir up controversy on the occasions that it is. A program of both works plays one time only at the SFJFF, on the morning of August 9th at Roda in Berkeley.

What am I overlooking here?


  1. Peter Nellhaus6/25/08, 6:31 AM

    The film is out on DVD, but I did like Facing Windows.

  2. Judging from the names of the directors alone, I highly recommend these three films:

    1.A HEBREW LESSON (2006, David Ofek, Israel, 123 min)

    2.LOVE COMES LATELY (2007, Jan Schuette, Germany)

    3.I ONLY WANTED TO LIVE (2006, Mimmo Calopresti, Italy, 78 min)

    I haven’t seen any films by Calopresti, but I have heard that he’s good. David Ofek co-directed THE BARBECUE PEOPLE (2003), which is very touching and has a very interesting storytelling structure. Jan Schuette directed THE FAREWELL – BERTOLT BRECHT’S LAST SUMMER (2000), which is great.

  3. Wonderful blog! will visit it again and again. By the way, I used to volunteer at the Jewish Film Festival many years ago and saw some important films that dealt with the occupation and apartheid issues. I wonder if the festival has kept that tradition up. I know the organization very bravely dealth with the pressure that came of within the community.

    - moazzam sheikh

  4. Thanks for the suggestions, Peter & celinejulie! I've never seen anything by those filmmakers before, though I know Calopresti films have screened locally in relatively recent years.

    Moazzam, I believe the festival still considers films about occupation and apartheid an important focus of its mission. Here are the films the festival has tagged with its "Palestine" categorization.