SFJFF

The 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, showcasing over 60 films from more than a dozen countries, opened on July 20th, and runs until next Sunday, August 6th. This year, the Festival boasts over 15 West Coast premiers, and more than 40% of its films are directed by women, including both its opening and closing night films. 

With a full week left to go, there is still plenty of time to catch some great new films. Below we spotlight four Fest titles (two documentaries and two features) that you may want to check out. Complete schedule, tickets, and more information are available here. [read the whole post]

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The 34th Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) opens tomorrow, Thursday, July 24th, and runs until Sunday, August 10th. With 70 films from 18 countries and eight world premieres, the Festival has something for everyone. Below we spotlight a small sampling of the Fest’s offerings: three features and two documentaries. Find the full schedule, tickets, and more information at: http://sfjff.org

112 Weddings
(USA 2013, 92 min)

They’re happy now –  but what about in ten years?

Who among us hasn’t been to a wedding and thought – even for just a moment: “I wonder where this couple will be in five years?” Documentarian Doug Block apparently wondered the same thing. Having supplemented his filmmaking income as a wedding videographer, Block here interviews a few of the 112 couples whose weddings he shot five, ten, 15, even 20 years ago. The results are by turns uplifting, amusing, poignant, and wrenching, but always fascinating. By interviewing a broad range of diverse couples, Block lets us see the hopes, expectations, and realities of weddings – and, more importantly, of marriage and lifelong commitment. What happens when the party ends, and the couple is left facing issues like mental illness, financial difficulties, child rearing, or chronically ill children? “Happy weddings are a dime a dozen,” says a rabbi Block interviews; “happy marriages are much more rare.” The contrasting footage of youthful, joyous weddings and the present-day, older, more solemn couples is deeply moving and eye opening. Whether you’re married, divorced, contemplating marriage, or ardently against it, you’ll be riveted by this compelling documentary that examines the institution of marriage in a powerful and unique way. “Happily ever after is complicated,” one of the interviewees says. Indeed.

Screenings:
– Saturday, July 26th, 4:30pm, Castro Theater, SF
– Sunday, July 27th, 4:25pm, CinéArts Theater, Palo Alto
– Tuesday, August 5th, 6:15pm, California Theater, Berkeley

Tickets and trailer available here. [read the whole post]

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More spotlights from the 33rd Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which runs until August 12th (still plenty of time to catch a few films). Full schedule, tickets, and more information at: http://sfjff.org

My Awkward Sexual Adventure
(Canada 2012, 103 min)

Jonas Chernick is ready to learn something new in My Awkward Sexual Adventure

Jonas Chernick is ready to learn something new in My Awkward Sexual Adventure

Canadian director Sean Garrity has made a charming, very funny picture that combines the sweetness and raunch of The 40-Year-Old Virgin with the wisdom of Star Wars. Winnipeg accountant Jordan (Jonas Chernick) isn’t a virgin, but he’s so bad in bad that his girlfriend Rachel (Sarah Manninen) consistently falls asleep during their intimate interludes, and breaks off their relationship. Desperate to win her back, Jordan makes a deal with Julia (Emily Hampshire), a pretty, smart stripper with big dreams and messy finances. The two work out a quid pro quo agreement – financial lessons for sex tips, with Julia serving as a sensual Yoda to Jordan’s naïve Luke Skywalker. The ensuing results are awkward, yes, but always hilarious and honest. A side plot involving Jordan’s best friend Dandak (Vik Sahay) and an arranged marriage candidate also parallels the main story nicely.

And just a warning: this film does for cantaloupe what American Pie did for apple pie…  you may want to opt for watermelon at your next picnic.

Screenings:
– Saturday, August 10, 8:45pm, Grand Lake Theater, Oakland [read the whole post]

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Spotlights from the 33rd Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), which opens today and continues until August 12th. Information and tickets at: http://sfjff.org

Gideon’s Army
(USA 2013, 96 min)

Travis Williams makes a point in Gideon's Army

Public defender Travis Williams makes a point in Gideon’s Army

Director Dawn Porter has made an absolutely stunning documentary highlighting the unheralded heroes of the U.S. legal system, young, underpaid public defenders in the Deep South fighting tirelessly for their clients, who are typically poor, uneducated, and out of luck. A Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance this year, the film won the Editing Prize there, “for skillfully crafting an unforgettable narrative through personal stories that luminate the larger issues of race and class in America’s legal system.” Compelling and timely, the film is a definite must see, and you will find yourself alternatively weeping, cheering, and shaking your head with disbelief and awe at these exceptional officers of the court who have made it their life’s work to uphold justice for each and every one of this country’s citizens.

Screenings:
– Friday, July 25, 6:50pm, Castro Theater, SF
– Saturday, August 10, 3:55pm, Grand Lake Theater, Oakland

[read the whole post]

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