31st Melbourne Queer Film Festival – The Jewish & Israeli experience

We present the films in the 31st Melbourne Queer Film Festival that will appeal to a Jewish audience

MQFF 2021

The 31st Melbourne Queer Film Festival runs from November 18 to 29 2021. The following is a selection of films from the festival program that contain Jewish content, relevance, or are from Israel. The full program can be viewed here.

The Swimmer

90 Mins

Erez, a rising star in the Israeli swimming scene arrives at a godforsaken training camp held in a boarding school where the winning athlete gets a coveted ticket to the Olympics. There he meets the beautiful and talented Nevo, who awakens long repressed desires in him, throwing his Olympic chances (and libido) into turmoil. This attraction is complicated further by their stern swimming coach who does not believe in fraternizing between competitors and is warned to stay away or risk his Olympic dreams. Will Erez act upon his feelings for Nevo and risk losing everything he has strived for becomes the urgent question at the heart of this vibrant and engaging film. Speedos, water, desire… The Swimmer is a winning romantic drama that will leave you cheering right up to the finish line.

Year: 2020 | Country: Israel | Genre: Drama/Romance | Theme: Gay | Language: Hebrew/English Subtitles | Premiere: Australian | Director: Adam Kalderon | Courtesy: M-Appeal

  • Fri 19 Nov | 9PM | Village Cinemas Vmax 10
  • Tue 23 Nov | 6:30 PM | ACMI Cinema 1
  • Sat 27 Nov | 2:30 PM | Cinema Nova Cinema 8

[PDF archive of MQFF page]

Ma Belle, My Beauty

[This film is not specifically Jewish but features a prominent Jewish character]

93 Mins

Lane, Bertie and Fred once shared a polyamorous relationship in New Orleans. Lane loved Bertie, Fred loved Bertie, they had a balance that worked… until it didn’t, and Lane vanished from their lives. Two years later, Bertie and Fred have gotten married and are living at Fred’s family home in the countryside of southern France. When Lane unexpectedly shows up in Bertie’s seemingly idyllic new life, she finds her former lover much different than she remembers. Bertie is disillusioned in her jazz career and clearly alienated in this small, white, European town. However, their spark is quickly ignited and when Lane attempts to recreate their old, carefree dynamic, complications arise. This is compacted further by Lane’s increasing flirtations with Noa, a sultry young artist and former soldier. Winner of the audience award at Sundance Film Festival, Marion Hill’s debut feature is a sensual, carefree delight.

Year: 2021 |Country: France/USA | Genre: Drama/Romance | Theme: Lesbian | Language: English | Premiere: Australian | Director: Marion Hill | Courtesy: WaZabi Films

  • Fri 19 Nov | 6:30 PM | Cinema Nova Cinema 8
  • Sun 21 Nov | 9PM | Cinema Nova Cinema 1
  • Sat 27 Nov | 7:30 PM | Village Cinemas Vpremium 11

Virgin My Ass

17 Mins

Ophir and Harel are best friends, but that could all change when Ophir asks for a special favor.

Year: 2021 | Country: Israel | Theme: Gay | Language: Hebrew/English Subtitles

  • Sat 20 Nov | 9:15 PM | Hooking Up Shorts | Village Cinemas Vpremium 9
  • Sun 21 Nov | 8:30 PM | Hooking Up Shorts | Cinema Nova Cinema 8

Great Freedom

116 Mins

In post-war Germany Hans is imprisoned again and again for being homosexual. Due to the notorious paragraph 175 his desire for freedom is systematically destroyed. The one steady relationship in his life becomes his long-time cellmate, Viktor, a convicted murderer. What starts as animosity develops over the years into something called love. Director Sebastian Meise asks you to imagine a world where love is forbidden by law and punished with imprisonment. What sounds like a dystopia was a reality for gay men in Germany right up until the late 60s. Bolstered by a magnetic and soulful performance by Franz Rogowski as Hans and rightfully winning the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival this year, Great Freedom is a stunning drama that is destined to become a queer classic.

Meise’s film is an exquisite marriage of personal, political and sensual storytelling – Variety

Year: 2021 | Country: Austria | Genre: Drama/Romance | Theme: Gay | Language: German/English Subtitles | Premiere: Melbourne | Director: Sebastian Meise | Courtesy: Madman Entertainment

  • Sun 21 Nov | 5:45 PM | Village Cinemas Vpremium 9
  • Wed 24 Nov | 8:45 PM | Cinema Nova Cinema 8
  • Sat 27 Nov | 9:30 PM | ACMI Cinema 1

There’s a lot of Israeli at the 2017 MQFF

We present the Israeli sessions at the 2017 Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

You can view the full programme here.

Desire Will Set You Free | Fri 17 Mar 10:15 PM | 92 mins | Germany | 2016 | Yony Leyser
Ezra (director Yony Leyser), an Israeli-Palestinian writer sunk deep into Berlin’s artistic underground, has a passing fascination with Russian hustler, Sasha (Tim Fabian Hoffman), while his acerbic friend Catherine (Chloe Griffin) attempts to sex her way free of her straight-edged girlfriend (Amber Benson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Like the city that provides its intoxicating setting, Desire Will Set You Free is packed with influences (from Isherwood to Bowie) and is under the influence. Tick off your Berlin scenester cameos: look out for performances from Nina Hagen, Peaches, Sookee, Blixa Bargeld and beefcake-electro oddities Rummelsnuff. English and German/Arabic/Hebrew with English subtitles.

Haircut | Sun 19 Mar 6:00 PM | 2 mins | Israel | 2015 | Amir Stolar
On the morning of his 29th’ birthday, Omer thinks back on his ex boyfriend Ori. This starts a journey of regrets and mixed emotions.

Barash | Mon 20 Mar 8:00 PM | 5 mins | Israel | 2015 | Michal Vinik
‘Israeli-Palestinian tensions deepen and complicate more familiar coming-out subject matter in Michawl Vinik’s vibrant debut’ – Variety

Seventeen year old Naama Barash enjoys alcohol, drugs and hanging out with her likeminded friends. When the suburban teen meets the cool, more experienced Dana they explore Tel Aviv’s nightlife and a hesitant relationship develops between them. Meanwhile Naama’s sister has gone missing from her post at a nearby military base, diverting her family’s attention away from the new developments in Naama’s life. Drawing favourable comparisons to Blue is the Warmest Colour, Barash is about the dizzy rush of first love, and an original, energetic drama that defies the stereotypes of life in Israel. Hebrew with English subtitles.

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now | Wed 22 Mar 6:15 PM | 85 mins | Israel | UK | 2016 | Tomer Heymann, Barak Heymann, Alexander Bodin Saphir
“Who’s gonna love me now?” These words, spoken by an ex lover, resonate with Saar, who is HIV positive. After being barred from his Israeli kibbutz years earlier, and with his Orthodox family still unable to accept his sexuality, Saar established a new life in London, where the London Gay Men’s Chorus have become an extended family. Featuring some stirring performances from the chorus, Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is a deeply affecting, intimate portrait of a man trying to balance his yearning for home with his desire to live life on his own terms. English and Hebrew with English subtitles

Cut | Fri 24 Mar 10:00 PM | 3 mins | Israel | 2015 | Dar Laor
A quirky animation on the myths that surround what is normal and natural in the realms of gender and identity.

Fake It | Sun 26 Mar 3:30 PM | 23 mins | Israel | 2015 | Tzurit Hartzion
Zohar needs more photographs for her exhibition and asks her ex, Ella, to recreate things that happened before the breakup so that she can photograph them. Is it real or are they, faking it. Hebrew with English subtitles.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2014

2014 MQFF

This year’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival again presents a rich selection of cinematic offerings from Israel and also of Jewish/Semitic relevancy. View the full programme here.

Sessions – Israel

Saturday 15 March 2014

6:15 PM at ACMI Cinema 2
Summer Vacation
10:30 PM at ACMI Cinema 2

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Snails in the Rain (SHABLULIM BA-GESHEM)
6:00 PM at HOYTS Melbourne Central, Cinema 3

Wednesday 19 March 2014

8:30 PM at ACMI Cinema 1

Saturday 22 March 2014

Being There
10:15 PM at ACMI Cinema 1

Sessions – Religion (Jewish / Islamic)

Friday 21 March 2014

10:30 PM at ACMI Cinema 1

Sunday 23 March 2014

1:00 PM at ACMI Cinema 2

It’s Who We Are: Celebrating 20 years of the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria

From the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria:

JLGV groupDear All,

Most exciting news!!!! Our documentary is going to be shown at the Melb
Queer Film Festival on Sunday 23 March at 4pm. Please pass on to all your friends.Sun 23 Mar 4:00 PM
ACMI Cinema 1

David Muir & Kate Lefoe
The Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria (JLGV) had its beginnings in 1992, when words like ‘lesbian’ and ‘Jew’ were still whispered, and it wasn’t always safe for the women to be open about who they were. Three Jewish lesbian friends organised a workshop for Jewish lesbians which attracted a phenomenal turnout, filling the room with warmth, laughter, and tears of recognition and relief. The JLGV had been born!
This warm-hearted documentary charts the birth of the JLGV and its continued activities in providing a social and support network, as well as acting as a powerful lobby group initiating significant change in Jewish, feminist and LGBTI communities around Australia.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2013

Melbourne Queer Film Festival logo

The 2013 Melbourne Queer Film Festival runs from March 14 to 24 this year and has a large number of Jewish, Israeli and UK/Israeli offerings to select from.

Specific sessions to watch out for:

View the full programme here.

Make sure you book early to secure your seats.

22nd Melbourne Queer Film Festival – The Jewish & Israeli experience

The 22nd Melbourne Queer Film Festival runs from the 15th-25th March, 2012.

2012 MQFF banner

There are several Jewish and Israeli offerings in this year’s programme.

A lesbian feature: “Jo + Belle” and a short: “Your Warmth” in Cocktales (Shorts Package).

Lesbian short – Some Things are Worse Than Being Gay in Femme Fatalities (Shorts Package).
Adam’s Tallit in OZ Shorts (Shorts Package).
Let My People Go – gay feature film.