2023 Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival – Lineup
Opening Night: Wednesday, May 10, 7:00 pm
Narrative | Israel 2022 | Director: Moshe Rosenthal | Hebrew with English Subtitles | 100 minutes
A bittersweet comedy about Meir and Tova, a middle-class suburban couple in their 60s, who are drawn to their new neighbor, Itzik, a charismatic bachelor who invites them to his penthouse for karaoke evenings. The couple, enthralled by Itzhik, enter into a competition amongst their other neighbors and soon between themselves for his attention.
Winner Audience Award and Best First Film Award – Jerusalem International Film Festival
Winner Best Actor and Best Actress, Ophir Awards 2022
Thursday, May 11, 2:00 pm
Narrative | Israel 2022 | Director: Mordechai Vardi | Hebrew with English subtitles | 108 minutes
Set in the mystical city of Safed, Barren centers around a young, childless ultra-Orthodox couple, Feigi and Naftali. When Naftali travels to Ukraine to pray for a child at Rabbi Nachman’s grave, a guest invited by Feigi’s in-laws, claiming to be a healer of barren women, convinces Feigi to undergo his treatments, to traumatic effect. As the couple work through their crisis, complicated questions about abuse of power, duty and faith are raised. Vardi is a rabbi as well as filmmaker and screenwriter. His thoughtful script invites us into an ultra-Orthodox community that is complex and multi-faceted. But perhaps his greatest gift to the audience are the film’s utterly believable, three dimensional characters.
Friday, May 12, 5:30 pm
Where Life Begins
Narrative | Italy/France | 2022 | Director: Stephane Freiss | Italian and French with English subtitles | 100 Minutes
In this subdued romantic drama, Freiss takes us to the lush and fragrant lemon fields of Italy. Every year, a French ultra-Orthodox rabbi and his family come to a lemon farm in Calabria to carry out a sacred mission: harvesting citrons for Sukkot. Among the family is daughter Esther who has become increasingly dissatisfied with the constraints of the world she inhabits. She meets Elio, the farm’s owner, who is himself trying to recapture the harmony of his past. Do they dare see in each other a path to a new life? Where Life Begins is a compelling, often raw depiction of the pain of questioning one’s faith and community. And the knowledge that there are no easy answers.
Audience Award for Best Narrative – Jewish International Film Festival Australia 2022
Saturday, May 13, 8:00 pm & Thursday, May 18, 2:00 pm
Who’s Afraid of Jewish Humor?
Documentary | Germany | 2022 | Director: Jascha Hannover |German, French, Hebrew with English subtitles and in English | 75 minutes
From Hershel of Ostropol to Lenny Bruce, Ephraim Kishon to Mel Brooks, if there is one thing that unites all Jews, it’s their self-deprecating, hilarious sense of humour, or so the myth goes. This fascinating and in-depth documentary takes a serious look at Jewish humour through a variety of perspectives – from the Torah to psychoanalysis to centuries’-old antisemitism. From the film’s central conversation about the source and meaning of popular Jewish jokes, emerges a provocative debate about the thin line separating self-deprecation from stereotypes, especially when the tropes come from outside the culture. With compelling commentary from thinkers in Germany, France, Israel and the US. This is the kind of documentary that you’ll also want to discuss long after you leave the theatre.
Sunday, May 14, 7:00 pm
Rom Com | Israel 2022 | Director: Erez Tadmor | Hebrew with English subtitles |98 minutes
Moti Bernstein has it all: he comes from a good Ashkenazi family, is a brilliant Yeshiva Bucher, and he’s not bad looking either. In short: a perfect catch for every bride. Moti is set up with the best matches in his Orthodox Jewish community. But his heart beats for the one girl he can never have. Or can he? Witty, fast paced, and sweetly romantic, Matchmaking is a Romeo and Juliet story (with a happier ending) and Israel’s box office hit of the year.
Monday, May 15, 7:00 pm
Simone Veil: A Woman of the Century
Biographical Drama | France | 2022 | Director: Olivier Dahan | French with English Subtitles | 138 minutes
Simone Veil (1927-2017) was one of France’s most admired figures. This epic bio-pic, France’s box office hit of 2022, is an homage to her extraordinary life and legacy – from her childhood in a happy family of assimilated Jews in Nice, to their deportation to Auschwitz to the political and moral battles she relentlessly and courageously fought throughout her adult life. In her work on prison reform as a pioneering French magistrate, as Health Minister fighting for and winning abortion rights for French women and, later, as the president of the European parliament, Veil was a fearless crusader for human dignity.
In-person only (no virtual available)
Film will be screened at Centre culturel franco-manitobain – 340 Provencher Blvd
Event Partner: L’Alliance Francaise du Manitoba
Tuesday, May 16, 2:00 pm
First to Stand: The Cases and Causes of Irwin Cotler
Documentary | Canada | 2022 | Director Irene Lilienheim Angelico | English |86 minutes
First to Stand follows Canadian lawyer Irwin Cotler and his team of young activists at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre, as they take on the cases and causes of political prisoners and human rights activists battling against the world’s most repressive regimes. Cotler began fighting for freedom and justice in law school with the landmark case of Russian refusenik Natan Sharansky, and remains today one of the world’s most effective activists in the protection of human rights.
Tuesday, May 16, 7:00 pm & Wednesday, May 24, 2:00 pm
Historical drama | France/Ukraine | 2022 | Director: Ady Walter | Yiddish with English subtitles | 114 minutes
SHTTL is set in an isolated Yiddish village in Ukraine. The shtetl is like so many others with all its argumentative and colourful characters. But the opening shot tells us the date – June 21, 1941 – and we know from the start we are witnessing the last twenty fours of this community. The next day the Nazis will invade the Soviet Union in the operation known as Barbarossa. This is the young French director’s feature film (he also wrote the script). His single take film is a triumph, with masterful storytelling, stunning black and white cinematography and superb acting from an international cast of actors speaking Yiddish, including Canadian Saul Rubinek.
POST-FILM Discussion on Tuesday, May 16 with Director Ady Walter and Producer Jean-Charles Lévy, moderated by Jonah Corne, Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Manitoba.
Wednesday, May 17, 2:00 pm
The Artist’s Daughter: Oil on Canvas
Documentary | Israel | 2022 | Director: Margarita Linton, Yaniv Linton | Hebrew and Russian with English subtitles | 59 minutes
The filmmaker joins a guided tour of an exhibition by a famous painter. The man in the self-portraits is her father, with whom she’s estranged. She contacts the artist for the first time in a decade and shares her idea of making a film about their relationship, rekindled by his artwork. Excited, the artist sends her to film his exhibition. As the work on the film develops, she discovers that meeting the man behind the portraits is her real challenge. The Artist’s Daughter paints a bewildering, surprising portrait of a relationship with an empowering ending.
Winner, Best Debut Film, Docaviv 2022
Best Documentary Film (under 60 min), Ophir Awards 2022
Best Documentary Film, Israeli Film Critics Association 2022
Official Selection, Hot Docs 2022
Wednesday, May 17, 7:00 pm
1341 Frames of Love and War
Documentary | Israel, UK, USA | 2022 | Director: Ran Tal | Hebrew with English subtitles | 89 minutes
Micha Bar-Am is a member of the famed photojournalism collective Magnum and Israel’s most celebrated war photographer. As he mines his extraordinary archive of over half a million negatives for the documentary, questions and self-doubt surface. The film becomes a profound exploration of photography, memory, and the personal cost of a life devoted to recording a conflict.
Winner 2023 Best Documentary Jury Prize, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
POST-FILM DISCUSSSION: The film will be followed by a Q&A with Director Ran Tal (via Zoom)
Thursday, May 18, 7:00 pm
Let It Be Morning
Narrative | Israel | 2021 | Director: Eran Kolirin | Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles | 101 minutes
An invitation to his brother’s wedding brings Sami, and his wife and son, a Palestinian family that holds Israeli citizenship, back to the small village where Sami grew up. When the village is unexpectedly put under a military lockdown, Sami is forced to face what he has been running away from. At times satirical, this film is ultimately an humanistic look at personal, political and social conflict.
Winner of 7 Ophir awards 2021 including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress
Friday, May 19, 5:30 pm
Our (Almost Completely True) Story
Comedy/Drama | USA | 2022 | Director: Don Scardino | English | 92 Minutes
A tall, aging “shiksa” icon meets a short Jewish comedian in a bird store – what are the chances? This is the almost completely true story of veteran actress Mariette Hartley and comic impersonator Jerry Sroka, who’s also been wading through L.A.’s insufferable dating scene. Written by and starring Hartley and Sroka, Our (Almost Completely True) Story shares the hilarious, vulnerable realities for aging actors and the search for love as seniors in Hollywood.
Saturday, May 20, 8:00 pm & Monday, May 29, 2:00 pm
Farewell Mr. Haffmann
Drama | France/Belgium | 2021 | Director Fred Cavayé | French with English subtitles | 115 Minutes
Occupied Paris, 1941: Jeweler Joseph Haffmann arranges for his family to flee the city and offers his employee François Mercier the chance to take over his home and shop until the war’s end. As Mercier and his wife move into the Haffmann home, the agreement turns into a Faustian bargain, one that will forever change the fate of all… Rich in moral complexity with plot twists and turns to keep viewers on the edge of their seat, this is big-screen cinema at its finest.
Audience Award Best Narrative – Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2023
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2022
Cleveland Jewish Film Festival 2022
Drive-in – The Asper Jewish Community Campus parking lot
Sunday, May 21, 9:15 pm
Hummus Full Trailer
Comedy | Israel | 2022 | Director: Asaf Kobrovsky | Hebrew and French with English subtitles | 92 minutes
A comedy of errors that involves a mix up of three shipping containers that have been smuggled into Israel. The snafu brings together Arabs, Orthodox Jews, Russian immigrants, a gay couple and the innocent scion of a mafioso on the eve of his wedding. All must join forces to solve the mishap. Though Hummus is a hilarious action-packed comedy, with a satirical bite, it also manages to deliver messages of community and underlying cooperation in spite of everything.
Snacks and Refreshments included in the In-person Ticket Price
The film will be shown as a Drive-in in The Asper Jewish Community Campus parking lot, weather permitting. Otherwise, it will be screened inside at the Berney Theatre.
Shorts on Sherbrook
Tuesday, May 23, 8:00 pm
Our hugely popular Shorts on Sherbrook Film Crawl is back!
Join us at two of the West End’s coolest venues for a night of illuminating, funny and art-y short films, laughter and conversation.
Ticket include snacks and drinks.
In-person only (no virtual available)
We will begin the evening at Handsome Daughter – 61 Sherbrook Street
Then make the short walk over to The Tallest Poppy – 103 Sherbrook Street for the second half of the evening.
Wednesday, May 24, 7:00 pm & Thursday, June 1, 2:00 pm
Narrative | Israel | 2021 | Director: Orit Fouks Rotem | Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles | 91 minutes
In this documentary-style narrative, eight Israeli women, four Muslim and four Jewish, take part in a filmmaking workshop in a small town in Northern Israel as part of a community program to learn new skills. The women are given the assignment to film their lives and share the footage with the group. The group dynamic forces the women to challenge their beliefs even as the film course helps empower them. This natural-feeling drama necessarily touches on thorny issues, but stays away from didacticism.
Winner Ophir 2022 for Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress
Israel’s submission for the international feature Oscars
Thursday, May 25, 2:00 pm
Documentary | USA | 2022 | Director: Roberta Grossman | Hebrew, German with English subtitles and in English |84 minutes
In the aftermath of the Holocaust, German and Jewish leaders met in secret to negotiate the unthinkable – compensation for the survivors of the largest mass genocide in history. Survivors were in urgent need of help, but how could reparations be determined for the unprecedented destruction and suffering of a people? Directed by award-winning filmmaker Roberta Grossman, Reckonings is the first documentary feature to chronicle the harrowing process of negotiating German reparations for the Jewish people, which resulted in the groundbreaking Luxembourg Agreements of 1952.
Sunday, May 28, 4:00 pm
The Last Suit
Narrative | Argentina/Poland/Spain | 2018 | Director Pablo Solarz | Spanish, Yiddish with English subtitles |91 minutes
Abraham Bursztein, a feisty, 88-year old retired tailor and Shoah survivor living in Buenos Aires, runs away from the care home his family have put him in, to Poland (by way of Madrid, Paris and the country he vowed never to set foot in). In Lodz, he aims to find the friend who saved him from certain death at the end of World War II seventy years after they last saw each other. A road trip movie with heart, humour and a dash of King Lear.
In-person only (no virtual available)
Sunday, May 28, 7:00 pm
The Other Widow
Drama | Israel | 2022 | Director: Ma’ayan Rypp | Hebrew with English subtitles | 83 minutes
A dark comedic drama about Ella, a 34-year-old theater dresser and mistress, who experiences the sudden death of her lover. She attends his Shivah while keeping her identity under wraps and dives into a world once forbidden to her. Through intimate encounters with his brother, parents, and, most especially, his icy wife Natasha, Ella examines her place in his life and eventually demands her legitimate right to mourn. This is director Rypp’s first feature film and it was developed in the Cannes residency program.
POST-FILM DISCUSSION: In the presence of director Ma’ayan Rypp
Monday, May 29, 7:00 pm
Historical Biography | USA | 2022 | Directors: Jeff Hutchens, Derek Goldman | English |95 minutes
“All I can say is that I saw it, and it is the truth.” In a filmed version of his one-man stage piece, Academy-Award nominee David Strathairn delivers a virtuoso performance as Polish Underground member Jan Karski. Karski risked his life to carry the first eyewitness reports of war-torn Poland to the Western world, and ultimately, the Oval Office. Strathairn brilliantly captures the complexity and legacy of Karski and recreates the horrors that Karski endured, Using nothing more than a table, two chairs and a suit jacket, the film is a study in minimalist eloquence.
Tuesday, May 30, 7:00 pm
Narrative | Israel | 2022 | Director: Dan Wolman | Hebrew with English subtitles | 85 minutes
A beautiful cinematic adaptation of Amos Oz’s book, Judas is both a cerebral drama and a tender coming-of-age story. Shmuel Ash has stopped working on his thesis, which dealt with Jewish views of Jesus, and takes a job as companion to the elderly and intellectually combative Gershom Wald. The two grapple about Jesus’s humanity and the betrayal of Judas Iscariot. Things get complicated when Shmuel falls in love with Wald’s widowed daughter-in-law, Atalia. This story of tangle of relationships also touches on the roots of antisemitism, the origins of the Jewish-Arab conflict, and complex realities in Israel. A low key film about big ideas.
POST-FILM DISCUSSION: Belle Jarniewski, Executive Director, Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, and James Christie, former Dean of Theology at the University of Winnipeg, explore collisions of characters in Amos Oz’ novel Judas framed by the ancient collision of Christianity and Judaism.
Wednesday, May 31, 7:00 pm
Prophets of Change
Musical Documentary | Israel | 2022 | Director: Assaf Ben Shetrit | Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles |98 minutes
Can music overcome borders and walls and bring people together? Filmed over a period of six years, this inspiring documentary tracks musicians, both Israeli and Palestinian, through their unique journeys and commitment to inspire change. An all-star roster of narrators includes Billy Zane, Sarah Silverman, J.K Simmons and Forest Whittaker.
Film will be screened at the West End Cultural Centre – 586 Ellice Avenue
Thursday, June 1, 7:00 pm
The Holy Closet
Documentary | Israel | 2023 | Director: Moran Nakar | Hebrew with English subtitles | 58 minutes
What does the wedding ceremony of two religious Jewish gay men look like? Or a family of two mothers and four children? Or the pregnancy of a trans religious man? The Holy Closet tells the stories of LGBTQ people who chose to remain religious Jews and to build their lives, relationships, families, and everyday activities according to the Jewish religion.
POST FILM DISCUSSION with Rabbi Steve Greenberg, Boston-based author and founder of Eshel, a North American support, education and advocacy organization for LGBT Orthodox Jews, playwright Daniel Thau-Eleff, and Ben Baader, Professor History University of Manitoba. Professor Baader’s gender transition and transition from secular to orthodox were the inspiration for Thau-Eleff’s play Narrow Bridge recently presented by Winnipeg Jewish Theatre.
Friday, June 2, 5:30 pm
Historical Drama | Israel | 2022 | Director: Jake Paltrow | Hebrew and Spanish with English subtitles | 105 minutes
The 1961 trial of Final Solution architect Adolf Eichmann is revisited in a gripping and unusual vision from American director Jake Paltrow. The story is told from the point of view of three Israelis: Eichmann’s Jewish Moroccan prison guard; a Holocaust survivor; and a 13-year-old Jewish Libyanimmigrant who is tasked with helping work on disposing of the condemned Eichman’s body. Paltrow’s vividly textured work – the film is largely shot on 16mm film to give a 1960s feel – uses these disparate points of view to paint an image of the diasporic Jewish people and a defining moment in Israeli history.
Winner: 2023 Best Narrative Jury Prize: Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
In-person only (no virtual available)
Saturday, June 3, 8:00 pm
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song
Documentary | Canada | 2021 | Directors: Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine | English | 115 minutes
The definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn “Hallelujah”. Cohen, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Brandi Carlile, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright and many others feature in the documentary. With never-before-seen archival materials including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and rare audio recordings and interviews.
POST-FILM RECEPTION: with a special mini performance by the Chai Folk Ensemble Singers