In honor of the Washington Jewish Film Festival’s milestone 25th Anniversary, we shine a light on the rich repertory history of Jewish Cinema. Some of the films in our WJFF Classics program are culled from past Festival favorites; others are highlighted for their exceptional contribution to our understanding of the Jewish and Israeli experience over the past century.
BREAKING HOME TIES
Dir. Frank N. Seltzer and George K. Rowlands
(78min, USA, 1922) Narrative
Thinking he has killed his friend Paul in a jealous rage, David Bergmann flees pre-revolutionary Russia for New York. While there, he becomes a successful lawyer and woos smart, independent Rose, the boss’ daughter. With live original score!
DIVIDED WE FALL
Dir. Jan Hrebejk
(117min, Czech Republic, 2000) Narrative
Set in a small Czech town under German occupation, Jan Hrebejk’s Oscar nominated film explores “not only the banality of evil, but also the banality of goodness, and the ridiculousness, as well as the tragedy, of their collision.”
Dir. Carl Boese and Paul Wegener
(91min, USA, 1920) Narrative
Grammy-nominated Gary Lucas presents one of his most beloved original scores: the 1920 German silent horror-fantasy expressionist film Golem, the tale of a 16th century rabbi who made a man out of clay to save the Jewish community of Prague from annihilation.
IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY
Dir. Robert Hamer
(92min, UK, 1947) Narrative
With an atmosphere redolent of pre-war French “poetic realism,” this recently rediscovered film is a Brueghelian slice of post-war British life: a feckless trio of thieves try to unload a truckload of hot roller skates; a music store owner chases one shiksa too many; and a pipe smoking inspector wiles away the day.
Dir. Daniel Burman
(100min, Argentina, 2004) Narrative
Ariel, a young man in his twenties, is our guide through a community mostly made up of Jewish business owners struggling to stay afloat in a Buenos Aires shopping mall. Fed up with the grind, he seeks Polish citizenship so he can become “European.”
Dir. Ephraim Kishon
(110min, Israel, 1964) Documentary
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sallah Shabati – one of the most outrageous, beloved, and enduring artifacts of Israeli Cinema – with a presentation of a newly restored print. This hilarious portrayal of immigrants in Israel was the first Israeli film to be nominated for an Oscar.
THE TRILOGY OF LOVE
Dir. Laurence Attali
(75min, Senegal/France, 1999-2002) Documentary and Narrative
Laurence Attali’s three-part ode to Senegal, spirituality, and the nature of love. We offer an extremely rare screening of the full work: Even The Wind (1999), Baobob (2000) and The Unshod Man (2002).