2015 New York Jewish Film Festival This Week


NY Jewish Film Festival

The 2015 annual New York Jewish Film festival kicked off this week at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. It is the 24th festival.

The Festival runs from January 14th to the 29th. It describes itself as, “the pre-eminent showcase for cinema exploring the diversity of Jewish experience around the world, presented by the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.”

The 2015 NYJFF includes world, U.S., and New York premieres of films from around the globe, plus special “beyond the screen” programs including a poster exhibition and panel discussions.

There are entries from 14 different countries that include documentaries and short films. Many of the movies are actually older films. The new ones include “The Polgár Variant” in Hebrew English and Hungarian. The documentary directed by Yossi Aviram tells the story of Lázló Polgár who spent his meager earnings in 1970s communist Budapest grooming his three daughters to become chess champions. Despite no schooling and near-total isolation from the outside world, his hard-nosed training paid dividends, and the young heroines would become a worldwide media sensation. The Polgár Variant follows the travels of the three sisters, from their birthplace to their current homes in Hungary, the U.S., and Canada, where the family’s extreme tale continues to make shock waves in the press.

The Festival will also screen Asaf Galay and Shaul Betser’s documentary, “The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer” which deals with the writer’s romantic life.

The Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer was a charming enchanter both on the page and in his romantic life. This “surprising and unflinching” documentary explores, through poignant interviews and exclusive archival footage, the unknown history of one of his most vital sources of creative inspiration: his translators.

Dozens of women throughout Singer’s life worked with him to open the doors to his singular Yiddish prose for the rest of the world to enjoy, and his relationships with many of them blurred the lines between the professional and the intimate. This is their story, and his—and a story of the arts of literature, translation, love, and life itself.

The director of the festival Aviva Weintraub said, “We are interested in investigating Jewish ethos and core tenets like tikkun olam.”


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