July 24, 2024
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NJ Jewish Film Festival’s Reel Film Series Resumes…With an Exciting Change for Patrons

In a break with the past, the New Jersey Jewish Film Festival has changed and expanded the screening schedule of its popular Reel Film Series to two showings a week: the usual Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., with a repeat screening on Thursday afternoons at 1 p.m. This way, if a participant cannot attend one showing, the alternate date provides an option so no one misses out on the experience. Both screenings will take place in the Maurice Levin Theatre at the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC, 760 Northfield Avenue, West Orange. The viewing dates are September 21/22, 28/29, October 19/20 and 26/27 and November 2/3.

The Wednesday evening post-film discussion will be facilitated by Gerard Amsellem, a noted expert on classic and foreign film and an expert in film history and analysis, particularly in the French New Wave films, as well as World and American independent filmmakers. Amsellem conducts screenings at several local venues including the West Orange Film Society, South Orange Public Library and, currently, through his own highly successful film club, La Cinematheque, at the SOPAC (South Orange Performing Art Center) in South Orange. He has created and taught world film classes at Livingston High School for the past seven years. He served as Reel Film Series facilitator last year.

The Thursday afternoon film discussions will be facilitated by New Jersey Jewish Film Festival Director Carol Berman. Excited that the film series has expanded to two screenings a week, Berman said, «We are thrilled to partner with La Cinematheque/New Waves Productions and Gerard Amsellem again. Gerard is a wonderful film discussion leader, and his insight is enjoyed by our patrons.»

The series, entitled «Celebrating Israeli Film,» includes five very different films. Kippur, a 2000 historical drama directed by Amos Gitai and told from the perspective of young Israeli soldiers, is an account of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Egyptian and Syrian troops launched attacks in Sinai and the Golan Heights. The Syrian Bride, directed by Eran Riklis in 2004, concerns the marriage of an Israeli Druze woman whose political leader father wants her to wed a Syrian comedian and move to Syria—a permanent move considering the political unrest between the two countries. The wedding is a tense nightmare, especially when the bride’s siblings, who have moved on to different countries and complicated relationships, come home for the big day. Eytan Fox’s Walk on Water (2004) features an Israeli intelligence agent who, following his wife’s suicide, is assigned to befriend the grandchildren of a Nazi war criminal. In My Father, My Lord (2007), writer/director David Volach recounts the story of a respected rabbi forced to come to terms with the demands of his faith and the welfare of his own family. And Nadav Lapid’s 2014 film, The Kindergarten Teacher, recounts the efforts of a kindergarten teacher who discovers a 5-year-old child’s talent for poetry and, amazed and inspired, decides to protect this talent from what she considers the banal, mediocre and crude values of the world around him.

The fee for the five-film series is $75 for JCC members and $100 for non-members. Sponsors of the 17th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival receive free admission to the series at the appropriate donation level.

Advance registration is recommended. Contact Carol Berman at 973-540-3417 (ext. 3421) for more information or visit www.jccmetrowest.org/njjff.

By JLNJ Staff

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