Some of you may already be asking why someone as anti-religious as I (click here for one of my jeremiads regarding religion that even my lifetime companion refused to continue reading, so angry did it make him) would want to cover yet another film fest that arrives freighted with the taint of "the deity." (Would I cover a Christian Film festival? A Muslim? Not likely. A pagan one, maybe.) Part of the reason, at least, has to do with the word Jewish, which for me, anyway, suggests cultural/historic significance than religious.
The Family Wolberg (photo, above) -- made its NYC debut as part of the FSLC's French Cinema series this year and will always seem to me much more French than Jewish. Another, the opening night attraction (as it was here in NY) Saviors in the Night, shown just below, details a Westphalian family's experience during WWII and so becomes, for my money (if not that of the nitwit Holocaust deniers) about history rather than religion. (You can find my earlier coverage of "Saviors" here.) When a film does deal specifically with religion, chances are it may very well offer a much more negative than positive view of same (as did the terrific Eyes Wide Open, which debuted at the NY Jewish fest and went on to garner a nationwide limited release).
The Army of Crime (below), another fine film shown at the FSLC French fest, details the stirrings of the French Resistance movement against the Nazi's during WWII, while A Room and a Half (shown at bottom), which opened in NYC a few months ago, provides a fantastical, dreamlike pseudo-return of poet Joseph Brodsky to his native Russia and combines memory, fact, animation, live action and more. By the time I've finished watching the five screeners (in addition to the films already seen), I'll have sampled but a small portion of the treats on hand.
film & event program here, the special progams here, the panels/discussion programs here and find a roster of the in-person directors and other special guests here. In fact, surf the whole SFJFF web site.