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Film Descriptions

Thank you for making the 2015 Jewish Film Festival a success. Below are descriptions of the films that were featured:

Preview Night at JCCNV.
ZAYTOUN. An unlikely friendship develops between an Israeli combat pilot shot down over Beirut during the 1982 Lebanese Civil War and a young Palestinian boy from a refugee family who is one of the soldier’s captors. View trailer. Directed by Eran Riklis | Israel & United Kingdom | 2013 | 110 minutes | Arabic, English, Hebrew with subtitles | Drama

Opening Night. ABOVE AND BEYOND. In 1948, just three years after the liberation of Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots answered a call for help. In secret and at great personal risk, they smuggled planes out of the U.S., trained behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia and flew for Israel in its War of Independence. View trailer. Produced by Nancy Spielberg | Directed by Roberta Grossman | Written by Sophie Sartain | USA | 2014 | 86 minutes | English and Hebrew with subtitles | Documentary


24 DAYS (24 Jours: La Verite sur l’affaire Ilan Halimi). A gripping and carefully-plotted thriller that tells the true story of the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi in a Paris suburb by The Gang of Barbarians, who expect a huge ransom as they assume that all Jews have money. …wrenching and politically astute…” — Screen Daily View trailer. Directed by Alexandre Arcady | France | 2014 | 108 minutes | French with subtitles | Drama

ARLO & JULIE. A neurotic Austin, Texas couple’s obsession with a mysterious puzzle comically unravels their world, disconnecting them from reality and jeopardizing their fragile relationship. View trailer. Written & Directed by Steve Mims | USA | 2014 | 76 minutes | Romantic Comedy. Screened with Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion. Hannah Cohen can’t wait to make her Holy Communion — only problem is, she’s Jewish! View trailer. USA | 2013| 13 minutes | Comedy Short     

BENEATH THE HELMET: From High School to the Home Front. A coming-of-age story which follows the journey of five Israeli high school graduates who are drafted into the army to defend their country. At the age of 18, away from their homes, families and friends, these young individuals undergo a demanding, inspiring journey, revealing the core of who they are and who they want to be. View trailer. Directed by Wayne Kopping | Israel | 2014 | 90 minutes | English & Hebrew with subtitles | Documentary

DISOBEDIENCE: The Sousa Mendes Story. In June 1940, when Nazi troops invaded France, an amazing rescue operation sprang into being. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, defying the direct orders of his government, chose to grant visas out of Occupied France to an estimated 30,000 refugees including around 10,000 Jews. View trailer. Directed by Joel Santoni | France | 2012 | 104 minutes | French with subtitles | Drama

GOD’S SLAVE (Esclavo de Dios). Based on actual events, God’s Slave follows Ahmed, trained since childhood as an Islamic terrorist now assigned to execute a suicide bomb at a synagogue, and David, the cold-blooded Israeli special agent who will stop at nothing to prevent the attack. View trailer. Directed by Joel Novoa | Uruguay, Argentina & Venezuela | 2013 | 90 minutes | Spanish with subtitles | Drama/Thriller

THE GREEN PRINCE. Set against the chaotic backdrop of recent events in the Middle East, the film retraces the details of a highly unprecedented partnership that developed between sworn enemies. In the style of a tense psychological thriller, this extraordinary documentary recounts the true story of the son of a Hamas leader who emerged as one of Israel’s prized informants, and the Shin Bet agent who risked his career to protect him. View trailer. Directed by Nadav Schirman | Germany, Israel & United Kingdom | 2014 | 101 minutes | English & Hebrew | Documentary

KIDON. This comedy spy thriller’s Ocean’s Eleven-style plot twists involve a Mossad team caught red handed on security cameras. The bigger problem: the Mossad knows nothing about the mission! “A breezy throwback to caper comedies of the 1960s and ‘70s, Kidon has a large cast, male and female eye candy, a twisty plot and a sense of fun.” — Jerusalem Post View trailer. Directed by Emmanuel Naccache | France & Israel | 2014 | 89 minutes | Hebrew & French with subtitles | Comedy

LIFE AS A RUMOR (HaChayim KeShmua). Assi Dayan, son of renowned Israeli General Moshe Dayan, and one of Israel’s most prominent film directors and actors, is what you could call the “Israeli Forrest Gump.” Israeli history is depicted here from a personal perspective. This is also the story of the Dayan family, the “Israeli Kennedys.” View trailer. Directed by Adi Arbel & Moish Goldberg | Israel | 2013 | 123 minutes | English & Hebrew with subtitles | Documentary, Autobiography

MAGIC MEN (Haben Shel Elohim). When the aging Avraham, a jaded, secular Holocaust survivor, decides to return to his native Greece to find the man who offered shelter and taught him magic during WWII, he is compelled to bring his son Yehuda, a devout Hassidic rapper, as his guardian. Father and son are forced to confront their prickly relationship with the help of a kindhearted prostitute. View trailer. Directed by Erez Tadmor & Guy Nattiv | Israel | 2014 | 100 minutes | Hebrew with subtitles | Feature 

THE OUTRAGEOUS SOPHIE TUCKER. The rags to riches story of Sophie Tucker, the iconic superstar who ruled the worlds of vaudeville, Broadway, radio, television, and Hollywood throughout the 20th century. Before Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Bette Midler, Marilyn Monroe and Mae West, Sophie Tucker was the first woman to infatuate her audiences with a bold, bawdy and brassy style unlike any other. View trailer. Directed by William Gazecki | USA | 2014 | 96 minutes | Documentary

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT. An animated epic musical film. An adaptation of the Book of Exodus, the story follows Moses' life from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. The film features songs written by Stephen Schwartz and a score composed by Hans Zimmer. View trailer. Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner & Simon Wells | USA | 1998 | 98 minutes | Animated Musical

TOUCHDOWN ISRAEL — Tackle Football in the Holyland. Israel might be the last place you would expect the corn-fed, Friday Night Lights tradition of American football to catch on. But don’t tell that to the passionate players and coaches in the 11-team Israel Football League. View trailer. Directed by Paul Hirschberger | USA | 2014 | 81 minutes | Documentary

Closing Night. APPLES FROM THE DESERT (Tapuchim min Hamidbar). Rebecca, the only child of Ultra Orthodox Jewish parents from Jerusalem, begins to secretly explore the secular world. This timeless story confronts issues of tradition versus modernity, and the question of whether these two generations can reach reconciliation. No trailer available. Directed by Arik Lubetzky & Matti Harari | Israel | 2014 | 96 minutes | Hebrew with subtitles | Drama. Based on the play of the same name by Savyon Liebrecht, translated by Shir Freibach.



Marx Brothers to Coen Brothers: True stories inspired by Jewish films
Live Storytelling Event. Wednesday, March 25, 7:30pm
True stories about Jewish films and their personal impact, celebrating some of your favorites: Fiddler on the Roof, Crossing Delancey, Funny Girl, The Exodus and more. This event, created just for NVJFF, will feature storytellers Jon Gann, Allyson Jacob, Tamar Kummel, Layla McCay, Adam Rueben, Amy Saidman and Elane Vitullo. Plus film clips! SpeakeasyDC was named the “gold standard” in storytelling by The Washington PostMore about SpeakeasyDC



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