This year’s Jewish International Film Festival includes a selection of films to tempt those looking for queer themes. Click on the film title for the offical JIFF page and session details in Melbourne and Sydney.*
“…fresh, frank look at coming out and coming of age in contemporary Israel” — Variety
“A female-focused Israeli rebel romance” — The Hollywood Reporter
Described as the Israeli Blue Is the Warmest Color, Barash vividly captures the heady energy and infatuation of youth, set against the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict. With conservative, detached parents and an older sister who has mysteriously vanished from the IDF, 17 year old Na’ama is bored of her sleepy suburbia. But when a new girl appears at school, she sends shockwaves through Na’ama’s rigid domestic sphere, propelling her headlong into a dizzying world of sex and drugs.
A vibrant coming-of-age tale, Barash premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and won Best Script, Best Actress and Best Actor at Haifa International Film Festival.
85 MINS / HEBREW (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — MICHAL VINIK
Family Commitments (Familie Verpflichtet)
David and Khaled are happily in love, poised to marry. Their attempts for matrimonial harmony are thwarted by family foibles: a homophobic father, a pseudo-orthodox Jewish mother, and an unexpected pregnancy. The two men have a few things to straighten out before they can say their vows and live happily ever after. An endearing and wacky family comedy.
85 MINS / GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — HANNO OLDERDISSEN
The People vs. Fritz Bauer (Der Staat Gegen Fritz Bauer)[contains some LGBT themes; * screening nationally]
“…riveting and revelatory” – Forward
Germany, 1957. Attorney General Fritz Bauer receives crucial evidence on the whereabouts of the so-called ‘Architect of the Holocaust’, Adolf Eichmann. Bauer, himself Jewish, has been trying to take crimes from the Third Reich to court ever since his return from exile, but has been stymied by an unforgiving German government. Bauer covertly elicits the help of the Israeli secret service to bring Eichmann to justice, and, in doing so, commits treason against Germany.
With fast-paced direction from Lars Kraume (Tatort), The People vs. Fritz Bauer is a historical thriller that exposes the elusiveness of evil while celebrating the tenacious heroism of Bauer. Audience Award winner at the Locarno International Film Festival, and winner of six 2016 Lolas (German Oscars), including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay.
IN HONOUR OF Peter Sharon Ivany for their support of Jewish Film in Australia
105 MINS / GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — LARS KRAUME
“A heady, sometimes headlong blend of fable and nightmare, with overtones of David Lynch and Franz Kafka…” — NY Times
Compelling, memorable and visually spectacular, Avishai Sivan’s sophomore film tells the story of a young Hasidic student who undergoes an immense spiritual crisis. Haim-Aron is the son of an overbearing butcher, and a devout and methodical follower of the scriptures: adhering to rituals and traditions of his faith with a bored detachment. A freak accident and a (near) death experience change everything, as Haim-Aron finds himself at odds with his sexuality and religious beliefs.
Magnetising audiences with its bold depictions of sexuality and faith, Tikkun is a stylish and unsettling film that offers a visceral and tumultous experience of a man struggling against repressive forces. Winner of Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Script and Best Actor at Jerusalem Film Festival, and the Silver Leopard Prize at 2015 Locarno Film Festival.
121 MINS / HEBREW, YIDDISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — AVISHAI SIVAN
Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me (Lama Azavtani)
“Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me doesn’t just have all the elements of a cinematic feat; it is one.” — Nisimazine
Muhammed is a young Israeli Palestinian man, meandering along the fringes of society. He is sexually and culturally confused and is drifting aimlessly through life. He is drawn in by the enigmatic Gurevitch, a motorbike-riding mechanic and the two begin an illicit and dangerous relationship. With a cast composed of non-actors, Israeli director, Hadar Morag, has created a visceral and immersive landscape, and a filmworld permeated by a sense of unease. Premiered at Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti Competition.
94 MINS / HEBREW, ARABIC (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — HADAR MORAG