The Seattle Jewish Film Festival celebrates its 20th year with some 32 films from 10 countries. It runs March 14-22, 2015, at several venues.
A teen no longer, the Seattle Jewish Film Festival celebrates its 20th year this month at several locations.
From March 14-22, some 32 films from 10 countries will be screened. Subjects range from the Zionist movement in 1950s Baghdad to the Holocaust to a spy comedy.
Documentaries include biopics about Marvin Hamlisch, David Broza, David Steinberg, Theodore Bikel and Sophie Tucker, whose considerable talent for showbiz self-promotion and reinvention is the true subject of “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker” (3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island).
Seattle Jewish Film Festival 2015
March 14-22, various locations; tickets range from $5 for senior matinees to $250 for a full series pass (206-388-0833 or seattlejewishfilmfestival.org).
Also among the special events is Nancy Spielberg’s “Above and Beyond,” a fascinating, well-researched documentary about Israel’s 1948 David-and-Goliath battle with better-equipped Arabs. Produced by Steven Spielberg’s sister, it includes other Spielbergs in the closing credits (1 p.m. Sunday, March 22, SJCC).
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A Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, is the subject of “Write Down, I’m an Arab” (4 p.m. Thursday, March 19, SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle). The screening will be followed by a discussion. The documentary “Holy Land” includes the voices of Jews and Palestinians on today’s West Bank (8:20 p.m. Sunday, March 22, Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., Seattle).
“A Borrowed Identity” deals with the dilemma of being an Arab teenager in 1980s Israel. It’s based on “Dancing Arabs,” an evocative 2002 novel by Sayed Kashua that became a best-seller (5 p.m. Sunday, March 15, Pacific Place).
“Run Boy Run,” the true story of an 8-year-old boy who escapes the Nazis, partly by denying his Jewish identity, may seem like a faint echo of the less sentimental “Europa Europa,” but it has some impressively suspenseful moments (6:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, Uptown).
Opening night (7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, Pacific Place) includes a romantic drama, “Hanna’s Journey,” about a German student and an Israeli woman. The evening begins with a 6:30 p.m. happy hour and ends with a dessert reception.
The festival’s annual Matzoh Momma brunch will include a screening of “Havana Curveball,” which won a documentary award at last month’s Seattle Children’s Film Festival. The charming tale of a baseball fan who tries to connect with Cuban sports fans, it’s well worth the repeat screening (9:30 a.m. Sunday, March 15, Pacific Place).
“Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa” has been collecting festival prizes for its portrait of anti-apartheid forces (8:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, Uptown).
The closing-night program (5:40 p.m. Sunday, March 22, SJCC)begins with a short, “The Funeral,” and continues with the feature-length Uruguayan comedy “Mr. Kaplan,” about a World War II veteran who suspects a neighbor of being a Nazi. It was Uruguay’s entry in this year’s Oscar competition for best foreign film.
Also in that category is Israel’s “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.” A Golden Globe nominee for best foreign film, it’s the story of a would-be divorcee who runs into trouble with Israel’s marriage laws (8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, SJCC).
Among the many shorts in the festival are “Facing Fear,” about a neo-Nazi and his gay victim, and “Zazaland,” about a Georgian family’s gay son (both playing on the same program at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 15, Pacific Place).