Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a dance lecturer at the University of Texas Arlington. She also serves as assistant director of UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble.
Screening nine extraordinary films from around the world, the 14th annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas opens on Saturday, September 11 and runs until Tuesday, September 28 at three different locations throughout the Metroplex: Studio Movie Grill – Royal Lane, the JCC Zale Auditorium, and the Angelika Film Center in Plano.
Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center and with support from the City of Dallas’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the Festival opens with an already sold-out Dallas Premiere of The Yankles. Voted Best Comedy at the 2010 Hollywood International Family Film Festival, The Yankles follows the story of an ex-major league baseball player who is sentenced to mandatory community service for drunk driving and must coach an upstart team of yeshiva students who have the ambitious quest to win the championship of the Collegiate Baseball League. Co-starring Don Most (Happy Days), this Jewish smorgasbord of comedy and tender moments is something for the entire family to enjoy.
Opening night is sold out. But tickets for other films can be purchased at the door or in advance (for $10) by calling 214-739-2737 or ordering online at www.jccdallas.org. Season subscriptions are also available for $85. Contact Judy Cohn, the Director of Cultural Programs at the JCC for more information.
The screening schedule for the remainder of the festival is below:
- Sunday, September 12 at 2pm and 7pm at the Zale Auditorium at the Jewish Community Center: Rafting To Bombay (Dallas Premiere) – Israeli Director Erez Laufer and his father, Nahum, travel to Mumbai, India, where he spent his childhood after his family fled the Nazis during the War. By cruel coincidence, they find themselves in the midst of a terrorist attack, in which the Chabad House is tragically one of the main targets. Past and present collide as the family history is recounted, and a little-known and fascinating story emerges of the Jewish refugees who found a safe haven in Mumbai during WW II.
- Tuesday, September 14 at 7pm at the Studio Movie Grill – Royal Lane: The Loners (Dallas Premiere) – With 11 nominations at the 2009 Israeli Academy Awards and winner of Best Actor, The Loners is the story of Glory and Sasha, two Golani soldiers, who are Russian immigrants living in Israel without any family. Their dream of making the army their home comes crashing down when they are accused of treason. Ostracized and humiliated in prison by inmates and officials alike, they take matters into their own hands when their request for a retrial is denied.
- Thursday, September 16 at 7pm at the Studio Movie Grill – Royal Lane: Anita (Dallas Premiere) – Best Film Award at the 2009 Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, Anita follows Anita Feldman, a young woman who has Down syndrome. She lives a happy and sheltered life in Buenos Aires, meticulously cared for by her devoted mother. One tragic morning, while left alone in the family’s stationery shop her carefree world is shattered by a terrorist bombing of the nearby Argentine Israelite Mutual Association.
- Sunday, September 19 at 7pm at the Zale Auditorium: Jaffa (Dallas Premiere) – Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival and nominated Best Feature Film at the 2009 Jerusalem Film Festival, Jaffa follows the story of Mali and Toufik (a Palestinian) who are secretly in love. Mali is pregnant and they are preparing to elope. However, on the day of their planned departure, conflict erupts between Toufik and Mali’s brother, a lazy, resentful young man who takes out his aggressive, jealous, and racist feelings on Toufik and his father. Mali, caught in the middle, must choose between family loyalty and the man she loves.
- Tuesday, September 21 at 7pm at the Studio Movie Grill – Royal Lane: Seven Minutes in Heaven (Dallas Premiere) – This psychological thriller focuses on Galia, a young woman struggling to reclaim her memory of the events surrounding a suicide bombing in which her fiancé was fatally wounded and she was left clinically dead for seven minutes. A mysterious stranger, to whom she is inexplicably drawn, appears to be stalking her. While delving into her past, with the stranger’s help, all the pieces of the puzzle come together in a startling revelation.
- Saturday, September 25 at 9pm at the Angelika Film Center – Plano: A Matter of Size (Dallas Premiere); Winner of 3 Israeli Film Academy Awards including Best Actress, this hilarious yet tender film, introduces us to Herzl, a shy 340-pound man living with his mother. Fired from his job because of his physical appearance, and asked to leave the Israeli equivalent of Weight-Watchers because he adds, rather than sheds, pounds, Herzl takes a job as a dishwasher in a Japanese restaurant. There, he discovers the one activity where girth is a virtue that can help you become a rock star – sumo wrestling!
- Sunday, September 26 at 8pm at the Angelika Film Center – Plano: Among Farmers: Saviors in the Night (Unter Bauern: Retter in der Nacht) – It is 1943 and the Spiegel family desperately seek refuge from deportation to the extermination camps. They turn to their gentile Westphalian farmer friends who offer them protection from the Nazis. Tension mounts as the families are thrust into uncomfortably close proximity with one another, always seeming to be just one short step away from discovery.
- Tuesday, September 28 at 8pm at the Angelika Film Center – Plano: Nora’s Will (Cinco dias sin Nora) – Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at Mexico’s Ariel Film Awards and winner of Best Director at the 2009 Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, Nora’s Will is set in Mexico City were Jose discovers the body of Nora, his ex-wife who has finally committed suicide on the eve of Passover after many attempts. Leaving behind detailed instructions for the occasion, this is a deliberate, mischievous act designed to reunite family and friends for a final Seder. However, she inadvertently forgets to destroy a mysterious photograph that could unlock her longtime secret. As Jose is faced with the daunting task of preparing for the funeral, a colorful collection of eccentric and entertaining characters arrives on the scene, which results in unexpected hilarity.