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The Jewish Museum present New York Jewish Film Festival

Presented by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This year’s edition, on January 8–23, 2014, includes more than 50 features and shorts, including many world, U.S., and New York premieres of films from around the globe, plus a number of “beyond the screen” programs including a symposium, a master class, and exhibitions of the posters and title sequences of the great Saul Bass.

Antonin Svoboda, The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich (still), 2012. Film, Austria.
Antonin Svoboda, The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich (still), 2012. Film, Austria.
This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Rachel Chanoff, independent curator; Marcela Goglio, Programming Associate, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Jaron Gandelman, Curatorial Assistant for Media, The Jewish Museum and Coordinator, The New York Jewish Film Festival; Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, The Jewish Museum and Curator for Special Programs, The New York Jewish Film Festival; Dennis Lim, Director of Cinematheque Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum and Director, The New York Jewish Film Festival.

Click here for complete festival schedule.

Special programs

Symposium: “Talking Movies”
Sunday January 12, 1–5pm
Free with RSVP

The New York Jewish Film Festival introduces its inaugural symposium, “Talking Movies,” co-presented with Film Comment magazine, featuring two panel discussions that examine the role of culturally specific and identity-driven film festivals and the blurring line between film genres. Confirmed participants include Jens Hoffmann; Aviva Weintraub; Mahen Bonetti, Founder and Director, New York African Film Festival; Carlos A. Guttiérez, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Cinema Tropical; Adam Baran, Co-Curator, Queer/Art/Film; Gavin Smith, Editor, Film Comment and Senior Programmer, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Michel Lipkes, director, Malaventura; and Edan Zeira, director, Lonely Planet; Elisabeth Subrin, director and artist, Shulie and Lost Tribes and Promised Lands.

Guest Selects: Wim Wenders
This year the New York Jewish Film Festival inaugurates an annual “Guest Selects” series, each year showcasing a director who has shaped the course of film history. We begin the series with a special screening of Paris, Texas on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its release. Acclaimed filmmaker Wim Wenders also chooses two accompanying films that relate to Jewish culture. Wenders is one of the most important figures to emerge from the “New German Cinema” period in the 1970s. He is director of such films as Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas, and documentaries Buena Vista Social Club and Pina. His atmospheric auteur films often engage with the themes of memory, time, and movement.
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Paris, Texas
Wim Wenders, West Germany/France/UK/U.S., 1984, 145 minutes
Tuesday, Janurary 14, 6pm
30th Anniversary screening

Wim Wenders brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas. This unique road movie follows the mysterious, uncommunicative drifter Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) as he emerges from the desert and tries to reconnect with his young son, his wife (Nastassja Kinski), and his own memory. Features an award-winning screenplay by Sam Shepard, music by Ry Cooder, and outstanding performances from Stanton and Kinski.

Run Boy Run
Pepe Danquart, Germany/France/Poland, 2013, 100 minutes
Polish and German with English subtitles
Tuesday, January 14, 9:30pm
U.S. premiere

Based on Uri Orlev’s 2004 novel, the film tells the true story of nine-year-old Jurek, who escapes from the Warsaw ghetto in 1942 and learns to survive in the nearby woods until the end of the war. Newcomer Andy Tkacz plays Jurek together with a cast that includes Katarzyna Bargielowska (The Pianist), Rainer Bock (The White Ribbon), Jeanette Hain (Poll) and Itay Tiran (Lebanon). From Academy-Award-winning director Pepe Danquart.

Broken Wings
Nir Bergman, Israel, 2002, 87 minutes
Hebrew with English subtitles
Wednesday January 15, 8:15pm

Writer-director Nir Bergman’s first feature film is a sensitive drama about a family rendered dysfunctional by the sudden death of the husband and father. Eldest daughter Maya (Maya Maron), an aspiring singer, and her mother Dafna (Orli Zilberschatz-Banai) struggle to keep the family together, and soon realize the importance of seemingly minor moments of everyday life. Bergman’s keen eye for capturing these details turns an otherwise sad tale into an uplifting film. From the acclaimed director of Intimate Grammar (2010) and writer of the HBO television series In Treatment.

Looking at Saul Bass
The New York Jewish Film Festival pays homage to the well-known graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Saul Bass (1920–1996), who designed title sequences and film posters for directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, and Martin Scorsese during his prolific 40-year career.

Posters by Saul Bass
During the festival, a selection of movie posters by Saul Bass will be on display in the Furman Gallery, across the lobby from the Walter Reade Theater. Free.

Titles by Saul Bass
A sequence of title designs by Saul Bass screens on a continuous loop in the Amphitheater of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center throughout the festival. Free.

Saul Bass: A Selection of Short Films
Saul and Elaine Bass, U.S., 68 minutes
Thursday, January 16, 6pm
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Together with his wife Elaine, the movie title and poster designer Saul Bass also directed a number of short films, ranging from television ads to science fiction fantasies. This selection includes From Here to There (1964, 9 minutes), Why Man Creates (1968, 29 minutes), Notes on the Popular Arts (1978, 20 minutes), and Quest (1984, 30 minutes).

Midnight movie: Phase IV
Saul Bass, U.S., 1974, 93 minutes
Saturday, January 18, 11:45pm
New York premiere of reconstituted ending
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Saul Bass’s only feature film is a visually striking curiosity that, originally a box-office flop, garnered cult status a year after its release. Hyper-intelligent ants take over an Arizona farm town, causing the government to evacuate the zone and send in scientists (played by Michael Murphy and Nigel Davenport) to figure out what is going on. Phase IV is as spellbinding as the movie posters and title sequences for which its director is known. This version of the film includes a newly discovered ending that was long believed lost. A digital cinema package was created for the Academy Film Archive’s collection, with thanks to Paramount Pictures.

Screening with Ambling Alp
Radical Friend, USA, 2009, 4 minutes

The Brooklyn-based band Yeasayer pays homage to Saul Bass’s Phase IV in this psychedelic music video inspired by the film.

Master Class: Amos Gitai
Sunday, January 19, 2–4pm
Free with RSVP

Renowned director Amos Gitai, whose new film, Ana Arabia, is included in the festival, presents an in-depth conversation on filmmaking. Gitai is one of the most respected filmmakers on the international scene. Through his work he continually explores new narrative and stylistic methods while maintaining a close, if questioning, relationship with contemporary realities. His work spans over 40 years and includes over 80 films, plus books, exhibitions, and theater pieces. The session will be conducted by Richard Peña, Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival, former Program Director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Professor of Film at Columbia University’s School of the Arts; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum and Director, The New York Jewish Film Festival.

Artist Focus: Yael Bartana
…And Europe Will Be Stunned: Nightmares (Mary Koszmary), Wall and Tower (Mur i weiża), Assassination (Zamach)
Yael Bartana, Poland, 2007–11, 90 minutes
Polish & Hebrew with English subtitles
Tuesday, January 21, 8:30pm
Introduction and discussion with J. Hoberman
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As modern Zionism was born with Theodor Herzl’s novel Altneuland, so artist Yael Bartana willed into existence a reverse Zionism, the not-quite-fictitious or entirely ironic Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, with her video trilogy. Over the three parts of …And Europe Will Be Stunned (which represented Poland at the 2011 Venice Biennale as an installation), one sees the birth pangs of the campaign, replete with mass rallies and youth groups, supported by both Poles and Israelis, to restore Jewish life in Poland. Bartana’s iconography alludes to the tragedy of 20th-century European Jewry while drawing both on the Soviet propaganda of the 1920s and the Zionist propaganda of the 1930s, archival examples of which will be shown along with her work.

Yael Bartana has had numerous solo exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad including the Moderna Museet, Malmö; MoMA PS1, New York; The Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; the Kunstverein Hamburg; and Secession, Vienna. Her newest film, Inferno, premiered at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. She represented Poland for the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale where the trilogy …And Europe Will be Stunned premiered.

J. Hoberman writes on film and culture for numerous publications including Artforum, Film Comment, Tablet and The New York Times. He is currently a visiting professor at Harvard University and is the author of many books, including Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds, and, with Jeffrey Shandler, Entertaining America: Jews, Movies and Broadcasting.

The Jewish Museum is under the auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary.