March 30 - April 5


The National Center for Jewish Film
at Brandeis University in association with The Consulate General of Israel to New England will present The National Center for Jewish Film’s 8th annual spring film festival: Jewishfilm.2005: From Auschwitz to America and Israel, from March 31 to April 10. The 10-program festival will include 4 USA premieres and 4 Boston premieres.

The festival will host 6 visiting filmmakers: Orna Ben Dor, Widowed Once, Twice Bereaved; Elinor Kowarsky, IDF: The Musical; Willy Lindwer, Goodbye Holland: The Extermination of the Dutch Jews; Volker Kühn, Dance of Death: Cabaret in the Concentration Camps and two Brandeis graduates, Zeva Oelbaum (’77), Rene and I: From Auschwitz to America and Pearl Gluck (’93), Divan. All films will be followed by a speaker, either the filmmaker or an invited guest.

To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, many of the films in this year’s festival deal with issues of survival, both collective and individual.

In different ways, these films explore how individuals learn to cope with trauma, big and small, including death, war, exile, family schism, and emigration.

Zeva Oelbaum will present the Boston premiere of her new film, Rene and I: From Auschwitz to America, the amazing story of resilience by Irene and her twin brother Rene, who survived, from the age of six, three years of experimentation at the hands of Josef Mengele at Auschwitz. Dutch filmmaker Willy Lindwer will bring to the USA the premiere of his very personal documentary, Goodbye Holland: The Extermination of the Dutch Jews, which focuses on Dutch complicity in the deportation of Holland’s Jews and Volker Kühn premieres his remarkable resurrection of doomed artists in Dance of Death: Cabaret in the Concentration Camps.

Two films are set amid the ghosts of the Holocaust: the Boston premiere of Metallic Blues, a road-movie that Variety calls an “Offbeat, largely comic treatment of present-day German/Jewish relations” and Pearl Gluck’s documentary Divan, about the retrieval of a turn-of-the-century family heirloom from Hungary.

Jewishfilm.2005 will feature four Israeli films, reflecting the diversity, richness, and challenges of life in Israel. Orna Ben Dor will present the USA premiere of her new documentary Widowed Once, Twice Bereaved, about five women whose families were killed in a suicide bomb in Haifa, Israel and Elinor Kowarsky will present the USA premiere of the first two hours of a work in progress, IDF: The Musical, a toe-tapping look at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) musical bands and entertainers. The festival will also screen last year’s highest-grossing Israeli feature film Turn Left at the End of the World and the Boston premiere of In Satmar’s Custody, a controversial documentary about the anti-Zionist, United States-based Hasidic sect, the Satmar.

Jewishfilm.2005’s opening program, offered in celebration of the Jewish community’s 350th anniversary in America, is the Boston premiere of the newly restored and subtitled 1940 Yiddish feature American Matchmaker. Starring Leo Fuchs “the Yiddish Fred Astaire” in an art deco romantic comedy set on New York’s Upper West Side, this clash between the urbane, slick manners of the new country and the old, busybody, communal ways of the shtetl, offers a satisfying combination of humor, music and schmaltz.

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NCJF Programming

NCJF Screening Worldwide

NCJF Boston Programs

NCJF Annual Film Festival




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