Event Type: In person screening|Q&A

What If?

Can a leader succeed in influencing the world? Or is he a human being like anyone else, only a grain of sand tossed to the waves of history with no ability to affect it? Tolstoy pondered this question in War and Peace. 78-year-old Ehud Barak is the controversial former prime minister, decorated and criticized commander on the battlefield, and one of the leading figures of the Zionist movement. He is also the initiator of Israel”s assassination plan of Yasser Arafat. In this remarkable film, Barak observes with disillusioned clarity his own history and the history of the State Israel. Twenty years after the failure of the 2000 Camp David summit, Barak looks back on his life and analyzes the Israeli reality with a critical eye. Respected craft-master filmmaker RAL TAL (THE MUSEUM, THE GARDEN OF EDEN, CHILDREN OF THE SUN), known for his narrative fiction style in his formalist approach to documentary cinema, delivers an outstanding philosophical essay, and proposes a deep cinematic reflection on history and decision-making, while trying to figure it all out – ”What if?”

Violence.

Length: 85 minutes

Director: Ran Tal

Writer: Ran Tal

What If? trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with director Ran Tal will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

Xueta Island

Some Catholics on the Spanish island of Mallorca have been discriminated against for centuries because their surnames have a connection to a Jewish heritage. They not only endured stigma and humiliation: they were also deprived of fundamental rights as citizens. While a few have been inspired to return to the faith of their ancestors, their recent entry into the leadership of the local Jewish community has caused an unforeseen controversy among its members. Are they the best suited to lead Mallorquin Judaism despite not having practiced their faith for centuries?

Length: 65 minutes

Director: Dani Rotstein, Felipe Wolokita, and Ofer Laszewicki

Writer: Marta Hierro

Introduction from director Dani Rotstein.
Xueta Island trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with directors Dani Rotstein and Felipe Wolokita will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

Shorts Program 2: Truth and Drama

A mix of longer shorts, both documentaries and fiction:

  • Long Distance (Israel, 20 mins.)
    Rachel is losing her sight to the point she can”t even manage doing the smallest daily functions, like dialing the phone. She opens her door to passing by strangers, on a tiny but significant journey, to reach out to her daughter, on the other side of the world.
  • Taking Steps (Israel, 22 mins.)
    Stav, newly married, is about to fly abroad with her husband for the mountain trek of his dreams. When she breaks her foot a week before they are due to leave, the couple must settle for a much less glamorous trip. But for Stav at least, it”s a journey that will allow her to examine for the first time ever, her needs and desires within the relationship.
  • Image of Victory (Israel, 29 mins.)
    July 2014. Israel is at war in Gaza. Uri, an Israeli soldier, is shot and wounded. At the hospital, he is welcomed as a hero. Between treatments and visits from high-profile generals and celebrities, Uri and his family reckon with his new status. An insider’s look at how war as a state-of-mind is shaping Israeli society.
  • Majesty and Tenderness (USA, 28 mins.) WORLD PREMIERE
    Majesty and Tenderness: The Art of Maurice Schmidt is a rare glimpse into the genius of a very unusual Texas artist who finds the majesty of beauty in everything. His artistic vision of over seventy prolific years, peers through a unique lens of Judaism, claiming that over decades of study, he has become “one with the Torah”. As an articulate academician, Maurice Schmidt candidly describes how his spiritual interpretations become a congruent mastery of beautiful craftsmanship and pure visceral expression that plays out seamlessly through his powerfully dynamic portrayals of daily life, agricultural landscapes and religious subjects.

Program length:  99 minutes

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Live in-person Q&A with director Vanessa Reiser of Majesty and Tenderness will play immediately after the film in-theater.

The United States of Fashion Designer Elie Tahari

Fashion Designer and Mogul Elie Tahari has been living the American Dream for more than 50 years. He came to New York in 1971, from Israel, with less than $100 in his pocket, slept on benches in Central Park, and went on to build a billion-dollar fashion empire. There are thousands of fashion companies worldwide, but only three have lasted for more than 45 years globally and are still run by their founders: Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Elie Tahari.

Cast: Elie Tahari

Director: David Serero

The United States of Fashion Designer Elie Tahari trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with director David Serero will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

The Red Orchestra

The Red Orchestra, a most important resistance net in Nazi-Germany, stole Hitler’s plans for the invasion of the Soviet-Union. Via an espionage group of Jewish communists in Brussels they radioed it to the Soviets. After locating their transmitters, Hitler set off a deadly hunt. Postwar, the ex-Gestapo henchmen were courted by Western intelligence services, Propaganda distorted the legacy of the Red Orchestra. Two large-scale films were launched in East and West – each merely partly truthful. Excerpts from both films are ‘reunited’ in this documentary film to tell the complete story. Descendants in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Jerusalem contribute to this first comprehensive film of the defamed resistance network.

Length: 120 minutes

Cast: Yehudi Kafri

Director: Carl-Ludwig Rettinger

Writer: Carl-Ludwig Rettinger

Introduction from director Carl-Ludwig Rettinger
The Red Orchestra trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with director Carl-Ludwig Rettinger will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

The Unword

It’s Hanukkah, for Max the festival of giving – and also the Jewish festival of miracles, which is something he could really do with right now. The morose atmosphere at the Berlin high school he attends is also down to him. After a lot of hostility, Max finally explodes when the conflict between him and his fellow pupil Karim spirals out of control, which is why the parents of the two assailants are summoned to a school meeting. At complete odds with each other over the delicate situation, an overwhelmed teacher, a school principal concerned only with his reputation, a strict representative of the school’s advisory board and the school caretaker, Eichmann, all sit down to a long evening of hateful prejudices, familiar clichés and a series of less than kosha solutions. Director Leo Khasin takes on anti-Semitism in German schools, and leads cult actress Iris Berben through an unorthodox, pithy comedy that emphasises what unifies and gives space to reason, not least through contagious laughter.

Mild bad language.

Cast: Iris Berben

Director: Leo Khasin

Writer: Leo Khasin

Introduction from director Leo Khasin.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with director Leo Khasin will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

Neighbors

In a Syrian border village in the early 80’s, little Sero attends school for the first time. A new teacher has arrived with the goal of making strapping Panarabic comrades out of the Kurdish children. To enable paradise to come to earth, he uses the rod to forbid the Kurdish language, orders the veneration of Assad and preaches hate of the Zionist enemy- the Jews. The lessons upset and confuse Sero because his long-time neighbors are a lovable Jewish family. With a fine sense of humor and satire, the film depicts a childhood which manages to find light moments between dictatorship and dark drama. Little Sero gets involved in dangerous pranks with his friends, and dreams of having a television so he can finally watch cartoons. But he also experiences how the adults around him are increasingly crushed by the despotism, violence and nationalism which surround them. The film was inspired by the director’s personal experiences, and so his bitter-sweet memories connect the Syrian tragedy to the present.

Length: 124 minutes

Cast: Jay Abdo

Director: Mano Khalil

Introduction by director Mano Khalil.
Neighbors trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with director Mano Khalil will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

Plan A

Based on a true story. In 1945, a group of Jewish holocaust survivors planned to poison the water system in Germany, Killing back 6 million Germans. The film tells the dangerous and bold secret-operation which was called – Plan A.

Based on the book “Nakam“ by Prof. Dina Porat, the chief Historian of “Yad Va shem.“

Nudity and violence.

Length: 109 minutes

Cast: Michael Aloni

Director: Doron Paz and Yoav Paz

Writer: Doron Paz and Yoav Paz

Introduction by directors Yoav and Doron Paz
Plan A trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with directors Doron Paz and Yoav Paz will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

Sin La Habana

By day, Leonardo teaches salsa to tourists but has dreams of making it as a classical dancer. His girlfriend Sara is an ambitious lawyer but has little opportunity in their lively but poor area of Havana. Together they devise a plan: Leonardo will seduce one of the lonely women in his dance class for immigration papers and a shot at a new life for them both. Fresh from a disastrous marriage, Iranian-Jewish Nasim comes to Cuba to celebrate her new found freedom but quickly becomes ensnared in Leonardo and Sara’s web when she falls for him and arranges for his arrival. When Leonardo touches down in a frigid Montreal winter, he hustles to find work to bring over his true love but is met with cold indifference and an increasingly complicated relationship with both Nasim and Sara. Upon Sara’s arrival in Montreal, Leonardo’s lies threaten to derail their plan, yet Nasim is harboring secrets of her own. A visually striking, poetic exploration of the religious and personal differences at the heart of a cross-cultural relationship.

Adult language, adult situations, brief nudity.

Cast: Yonah Acosta Gonzalez

Director: Kaveh Nabatian

Writer: Kaveh Nabatian

Introduction from director Kaveh Nabatian.
Sin La Habana trailer.

Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with Director Kaveh Nabatian will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.

The Adventures of Saul Bellow

For most of his adult life, Saul Bellow was the most acclaimed novelist in America and winner of, among other awards, the Nobel Prize in Literature, three National Book Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize. The Adventures of Saul Bellow is the first-ever documentary film on Saul Bellow, the man described by critic James Wood as the ”greatest of American prose stylists in the 20th century.” Marking the centennial of his birth and the tenth anniversary of his death, this film features original interviews with Bellow”s family, close friends, and writers inspired by him, including Martin Amis and A. B. Yehoshua. Bellow”s revolutionary impact on American literature is examined, as are his many identities as a writer, polemicist, ”serial husband,” father, Chicagoan, Jew, and American. The film highlights a previously underestimated element of Bellow”s life and work: his humor. Bellow”s satire and scalding wit reflected his joy and commitment to life, but also his belief that the world was marked by disorder and unruliness.

Length:  86 minutes

Director: Asaf Galay

Presentation partner:

Introduction from director Asaf Galay.
The Adventures of Saul Bellow trailer.


Screening will be accompanied by a Q&A.

Q&A with director Asaf Galay will play immediately after the film in-theater and be available as bonus content for virtual participants.