THE Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival will screen 12 feature films beginning May 21 that represent a wide spectrum of styles and genres, but have one common denominator. They all focus on Jewish identity, history and culture.
The films, which screen in the Berney Theatre at the Rady Jewish Community Centre until June 1, range from surreal comedy to family drama to a documentary on an unsung Jewish hero of American rock 'n' roll.
"It is inspiring to see these unique and diverse films that capture the diversity of Jewish life and experience and are accessible to audiences of all cultural backgrounds," says festival programmer Tamar Barr, Rady JCC's assistant executive director.
The program includess:
-- Orchim Le-Rega (Off-White Lies), an Israel/France co-production set during the outbreak of the second Lebanon war, centring on the relationship of an introverted teen girl and her estranged father. Screens Tuesday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.
-- Les Hommes Libres (Free Men), a French drama based on a true story of how Muslim freedom fighters in a French mosque sheltered many Jews during the Second World War. Screens on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
-- Süskind, a Dutch drama again based on a true story of a Jewish industrialist who saved hundreds of Dutch children from the death camps. Screens Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m.
-- Hitler's Children, a German/Israeli documentary about the descendants of the most powerful figures of the Nazi regime. Screens Friday, May 24 at 5 p.m.
-- Balada Le'aviv Ha'bohe (The Ballad of the Weeping Spring), an Israel production about a man who goes to great lengths to honour the last wishes of a dying friend. Screens Saturday, May 25, 8 p.m.
-- Hava Nagila: The Movie, an American doc about the most recognized piece of Jewish music in all its incarnations. Screens Sunday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
-- Lore, a German/Australia/U.K. co-production about a German girl who must face her own hateful Nazi ideology in the last days of the Third Reich. Screens Monday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m.
-- AKA Doc Pomus, a Canadian/American doc about Jerome Felder, a polio-afflicted songwriter who contributed to some of the most popular songs of the '50s and '60s, including Save the Last Dance, This Magic Moment, Turn Me Loose and Suspicion. Co-directed by former Winnipegger William Hechter, it screens Tuesday May 28, at 7:30 p.m.
-- No Place on Earth, a German/U.K. co-production about Ukrainian Jews who hid in caves to escape the Nazis in what became the longest recorded (544 days) underground survival in human history. Screens Wednesday May 29 at 7:30 p.m.
-- Namess Bageshem (Melting Away), an Israeli drama about a family contending with a transgendered child, a first for Israeli cinema. It screens Thursday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m
-- Karua (Torn), an Israel/Poland documentary telling the extraordinary story of Romuald Waszkinel, an ordained Polish Catholic priest who discovers that he was born to Jewish parents, and that his name was Jacob Weksler. Screens Friday, May 31 at 5 p.m.
-- Ha-Olam Matzhik (The World is Funny), Israel's biggest box-office hit of 2012 is a collection of strange vignettes that function as an allegory on Israeli society. Screens Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m
All foreign films are subtitled and subject to classification. Tickets and festival packages are available by calling the Rady Jewish Community Centre at 204-477-7510 or on-line at www.radyjcc.com. A limited number of festival passes are available.