The Rutgers Jewish Film Festival is expanding, and it will feature more films than ever before as well as three new venues during its seventeenth annual run. The festival, Oct. 30 – Nov. 13, brings New Jersey a diverse slate of award-winning, international films, including a United States premiere and four New Jersey premieres. Discussions with filmmakers, scholars, and other noteworthy speakers enrich the film going experience. The new venues are: Rutgers Business School, 100 Rockafeller Road, Piscataway Township (Livingston Campus) (RBS); AMC Loews New Brunswick 18, 17 US Highway 1, New Brunswick (AMC); and Princeton Garden Theatre, 160 Nassau Street, Princeton (PGT). The festival is sponsored by Rutgers’ Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life.
Through dramatic and documentary films, the festival explores a broad range of topics, including Israeli society, history, and culture: the diverse landscape of Israeli cuisine; business partnerships and relationships between Israelis and Arabs; and the struggle of an HIV-positive gay man who must deal with the fears and prejudices of his family. In addition, a special sneak preview of On the Map will shed light on the multi-layered significance of the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team’s 1977 victory in the European cup.
The New Jersey premiere of the Israeli film One Week and a Day opens the festival. The film, which won numerous awards at this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival, including Best Israeli Feature Film, manages to inject humor into a moving story of love and loss. (See below for details.) The director has been invited to the screening. Opening night also includes a buffet dinner and dessert reception for festival sponsors. An additional screening of the film will be held at Princeton Garden Theatre on November 9.
The festival features two thrillers: One tells the story of the Sabena flight hijacking in 1972; the other deals with the German perspective in bringing Adolf Eichmann to justice. Two Jewish artists in America will be highlighted in separate documentaries: Norman Lear, the television icon, and Eva Hesse, who is posthumously celebrated as one of the most important artists of the second half of the 20th century. Finally, a number of both dramatic and documentary films featured in the festival relate in different ways to the Holocaust: From the New Jersey premiere of the Greek drama Cloudy Sunday, which tells the story of forbidden love set against the backdrop of German-occupied Thessaloniki; to the New Jersey premiere of the American documentary Germans and Jews, which looks at postwar Germany’s Jewish population, the relationship between Jews and non-Jews there, and difficult issues of memory, guilt, identity, and redemption.
Closing night features the United States premiere of The Women’s Balcony, a new Israeli drama that explores gender roles in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem. (See below for detailed description.) An additional matinee screening will be held on November 1 at AMC Loews New Brunswick 18.
For festival schedule and ticket information, or to purchase tickets online, visit the website BildnerCenter.Rutgers.edu. Film tickets are priced from $6 to $13. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended as screenings often sell out prior to the festival.