Jewish International Film Festival

Film, Film festivals
Guy Pearce with grey hair and a moustache peers out from behind an ornate door in JIFF film The Last Vermeer
Photograph: Supplied/JIFF

Time Out says

The unmissable showcase of Jewish cinema worldwide returns to Sydney

Collecting fascinating stories from all around the world, the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) has extended its run with fab encore screenings through to March 31.

You'll have another chance to see opoenign night hit Incitement, which won Best Film at the 2019 Ophir Awards, or the Israeli Oscars. The gripping thriller traces the radicalisation of Israeli ultranationalist Yigal Amir in the years leading up to his shocking assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, a watershed moment for the country. The screening will be followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with director Yaron Zilberman. And if your obsession with Netflix hit Unorthodox led you to actor Shira Haas’s also-impressive work on Shtisel, then you won’t want to miss JIFF premiering the first two episodes of season three of this addictive drama about the ups and downs of an ultra-Orthodox family in Jerusalem.

Elsewhere, you’ll be able to indulge in local hero Guy Pearce alongside Claes Bang, the breakout star of The Square, in WWI aftermath thriller The Last Vermeer. The Memento and LA Confidential lead plays a Dutch artist accused of conspiring with the Nazis, including flogging a stolen Vermeer. Bang plays a resistance fighter who, despite all evidence to the contrary, is determined to prove the painter’s innocence.

Persian Lessons, set in 1942, follows the risky gambit of a Jewish Belgian man who pretends to be Persian to escape being sent to a concentration camp and is then tasked with teaching a language he does not know to the officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran once the war is over. And Here We Are is a touching family drama about a father unwilling to let go when his ex-wife reckons it’s time for their autistic son to become more independent. It swept the board at the 2020 Ophir Awards.

If documentaries are more your thing, we love the sound of feel-good film Breaking Bread, which follows a group of Jewish and Palestinian chefs working side-by-side on a food festival in Haifa. Celebrate the life of the game-changing former Supreme Court hero in Ruth – Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words.

Artistic director Eddie Tamir says it’s a joy to be back in-cinema to present this year’s finest at JIFF. “This year’s program celebrates the richness and diversity of Jewish culture around the world… split equally between Israeli and diaspora productions. From deeply personal documentaries on the trailblazers who changed the world, to touching true stories illuminating the untold stories from our history, as well as some truly impressive star-studded films, JIFF 2021 will reach all ages across the full spectrum of politics and religion.”

Love going to the movies? Check out this Pedro Almodóvar retrospective.


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