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Film Descriptions

February 6, 2019

#Work in Progress

Eight of Israel’s most passionate social activists join with the countries most acclaimed and influential Youtubers to encourage connection across a multitude of boundaries. Playful and stimulating, the film creates a level platform for dialogue which breaks through stereotypes and stigma,across socioeconomic status, religions, ethnicities, races and sexual and gender identities. Life affirming and thought… Read more

January 6, 2019

93 Queen

The women of 93 Queen are no ordinary feminists. Though the women’s rights movement has been well underway in the U.S. since the mid 1800’s, its influence has been very small in the Ultra Orthodox Jewish Community.  In the center of Brooklyn, NY, the heart of Hasidic Judaism, the first ever all women EMT service… Read more

February 6, 2019

Across the Waters

Immersed in the nightlife of 1943 Copenhagen, jazz guitarist Arne Itkin is unconcerned as the Danish government opts for a compliant relationship with Nazi Germany. He is initially skeptical when his terrified wife Miriam hears rumors of the round-up and deportation of Danish Jews. An overnight raid forces the couple to flee their home with… Read more

February 6, 2019

Broken Branches

Broken Branches is an animated documentary about loss, family and hope. Michal Rechter was only 14 years old when, on the eve of the Second World War, she left her family in Poland and travelled to Israel. Now, at the age of 92, she tells her story to her granddaughter, the film’s director, who brings… Read more

February 6, 2019

Budapest Noir

A beautiful girl is found dead in Budapest 1936 and no one wants to investigate — except Zsigmond Gordon, a world-weary reporter who asks unwanted questions about the seemingly unimportant murder of a young prostitute found beaten to death and dumped in a courtyard.  While supposedly covering the funeral of Fascist-leaning Hungarian prime minister Gyula… Read more

February 6, 2019

Citizen Jane: Battle Cry for the City

Concerned about city planning in Maine? Meet Jane Jacobs,  whose 1960 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities sent shockwaves through the architecture and planning worlds, with its exploration of the consequences of modern planners’ and architects’ reconfiguration of cities. Jacobs was also an activist,  involved in many fights in mid-century New York, to… Read more

February 6, 2019

Echo

Echo starts out like a fairytale.  The main character, Avner, has looks, an important job, an intelligent, beautiful wife named Ella, two lovely children, and a gorgeous home on the beach.  But one day he receives a traffic ticket by mail that reveals that his perception of life is an illusion. But what is the… Read more

February 6, 2019

Eldorado

It is often easier to focus on the headlines, statistics, and rhetoric about immigrants than on the people themselves.  The Swiss nomination for Best Foreign Documentary, Eldorado makes the global phenomenon of thousands of people fleeing to Europe real and tangible through graphic footage of refugee rescues and gripping interviews with asylum seekers.  In addition,… Read more

February 6, 2019

Estella

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Maine Jewish Film Festival is proud to present a film that celebrates the Irish Jewish connection. Estella Solomons’ centenary passed in 1982 without public attention, and even her death in 1968 was not widely noticed.   Yet she was important in Irish history as a very fine painter… Read more

February 6, 2019

Family in Transition

In the small, traditional, Israeli town of Nahariya, one family is in for a big change. Their lives transform completely after their father reveals that he’s a transgender woman and plans to undergo sex re-assignment surgery. Their mother chooses to stay with her spouse through the whole process, but just as it seems that life… Read more

January 18, 2019

Futures Past

After leaving 12 years prior to become a filmmaker (much to his father’s dismay), Jordan Melamed returns to the most violent of all financial arenas, the Chicago trading pits.  He arrives just as the world built by his father, legendary trader Leo Melamed, is threatened with extinction by computer trading. As we are drawn into… Read more

January 18, 2019

Inside the Mossad

Like the CIA, Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, has spawned many myths since its inception in 1949. The tales behind its top secret operations have fed the imagination of conspiracy theorists the world over. Filmmaker Duki Dror (MJFF film 2016 Partner with the Enemy) interviews former heads and agents who break their silence and talk for… Read more

February 6, 2019

It Must Schwing: The Blue Note Story

1939 New York: Two Jewish emigres from Nazi Berlin establish the legendary Blue Note Records. Dedicated solely to American Jazz at a time when African American musicians faced discrimination in all aspects of the music industry, Blue Note discovered, produced and promoted artists including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and… Read more

February 6, 2019

Itzhak

Nominated for a 2019 Grammy for Best Music Documentary, Itzhak uncovers the story of a polio survivor who became one of classical music’s superstars, while also exploring themes of Jewish identity, Jewish history, humor and love. This engaging documentary explores Perlman’s life beyond the violin and features stunning performances as well as interviews with Billy… Read more

February 6, 2019

Jewish Luck

This classic,Yiddish language silent film uncovers the richness of  literary giant, Sholem Aleichem. Based on his series of stories featuring the character Menakhem Mendl, JEWISH LUCK revolves around this daydreaming entrepreneur and his doomed strike-it-rich schemes. Against the backdrop of Jewish oppression in Tsarist Russia, our protagonist pursues his dreams as his continued persistence transforms… Read more

February 6, 2019

Klezmer

This is not a film about the musical tradition, but a gripping drama with an unusual perspective.  When a group of foraging villagers discover a wounded Jew unconscious in the woods in Nazi occupied Poland, they must grapple with the moral consequences of their choices. A hauntingly diverse score, stunning cinematography and skilled acting create an… Read more

February 6, 2019

Life in Stills

This charming and touching documentary celebrates the life work of Miriam and Rudi Weissenstar, who first opened the doors of Tel Aviv’s world renowned Photo House in 1936. In the aftermath of Rudi’s passing and in the shadow of a wrenching family tragedy, the fate of the shop rests on the shoulders of Miriam and… Read more

February 6, 2019

Morning Trail

Romance finds us in the strangest places.  When Ella’s best friend Tami dies suddenly in an elevator accident, the only thing she can think of doing is completing the trek they had been planning to take together in Tami’s memory. Much to the consternation of her daughter Michal, she ignore the usual Jewish forms of… Read more

January 18, 2019

On My Way Out

From producer Howie Mandel comes a heartbreaking, hilarious and surprising story about a (nearly) perfect marriage. Holocaust survivors Roman (Popi) and Ruth Blank created new lives in America, ran a successful business and raised a loving family. That is until Popi, at age 95, decides to live life as an openly gay man. Filmmakers Brandon… Read more

January 21, 2019

On The Map

Before the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980, came an equally suspenseful and exciting sports rivalry when Israel and the Soviets met at the European World Championship in 1977. With the backdrop of  the 1972 Munich massacre and the Yom Kippur War, the story of the Israeli basketball team gripped the young nation. Interviews by Bill… Read more

February 6, 2019

Paddington

The whole family will enjoy the story of Paddington, a young Peruvian bear who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven. But Paddington will need to learn more about people, both good and bad,… Read more

February 6, 2019

Public and Private Conversations: Women’s Shorts Program

In this selection of shorts focused on women, we see both the inner and outer worlds that women deal with on a daily basis.  From a Hasidic girls camp to the Tel Aviv bus station, from an army barrack to the death metal stage, three generations of Jewish women talk to themselves, each other, and… Read more

January 18, 2019

Redemption

The sounds of moody Jewish rock and exuberant Jewish wedding music set the scene for the drama Redemption, which focuses on a former rock and roll star who has found religion. Menahem, a former frontman who is now observant, desperately needs money for his daughter’s medical treatments. His only option is to get the band… Read more

February 6, 2019

Satan and Adam

Racism, Blues music and the power to make a difference drive this intimate, poignant and unlikely documentary. In 1986, harmonica player Adam Gussow asked if he could jam with one man band Sterling “Mr. Satan” McGee and an unforgettable collaboration began between the Jewish musician and Harlem legend, who once played with James Brown and… Read more

January 21, 2019

Seeing Allred

Gloria Allred, the woman who took on Donald Trump in 2012 and won, doesn’t care if you don’t understand her. But she does care deeply about giving a voice to those who might otherwise not get a public hearing. Her stands on gay and reproductive rights and equal pay legislation seem prescient today. This energetic… Read more

February 6, 2019

Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema

Who knew?  Shalom Bollywood tells the tale of the nice Jewish girls who became icons of Indian cinema from the early 20th century to the present.  Gorgeous and highly talented, these Jewish stars pushed the boundaries to make Bollywood what it is today. In doing so, they created many Bollywood firsts:  the first dance, the… Read more

February 6, 2019

Shockwaves

Gut wrenching and captivating, this film follows three Israeli families, with a member who has been physically or psychologically wounded through combat or terror. It is impossible to turn away as so much is revealed about the struggles of survivors as well as those who live with and care for them. Spouses, children, parents and… Read more

February 6, 2019

Shoelaces

Reuben already has a complicated relationship with Gadi, his special needs son he abandoned in childhood. When Gadi, 35 loses his mother Reuben becomes’ Gadi’s legal guardian. Then Reuben needs a kidney transplant and Gadi wants to be the donor and things get really complicated. Directed by the father of a special needs child, Nevo… Read more

February 6, 2019

Shorts Program -2019

Looking for  animation, documentaries, drama, and comedy all in one program?  Each year a group of MJFF volunteers watches countless shorts and picks the best to create a program that truly fulfills the Festival’s mission to “enrich, educate, and entertain.”   We hope you enjoy this year’s eclectic selection: 212 — Life and death as seen… Read more

February 6, 2019

The Art of Spiegelman

A fascinating look at the visionary who took underground comics into the mainstream and won a Pulitzer for Maus.  Reflecting on childhood memories and his sometimes controversial work, Spiegelman is frank about the pleasures and difficulties of success, the depression that followed his new-found celebrity after the publication of Maus and his ongoing anxiety about… Read more

January 6, 2019

The Automat

Horn & Hardart Automats were America’s first major fast-food chain. Paupers once sat shoulder to shoulder with investment bankers at communal tables, sipping coffee or enjoying delicious and nourishing food. In her debut feature documentary, filmmaker Lisa Hurwitz investigates the rise and fall of this unique institution that bridged the diversity of class, language, gender… Read more

January 6, 2019

The Band’s Visit

This film is sold out – if tickets become available they will be sold at the Nickelodeon 15 minutes before start time at 4:00 PM Eight Egyptians, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, are booked to play at the Arab Cultural Center in Petah Tikva, Israel.  A miscommunication (Arabic has no “p” sound, and regularly replaces… Read more

February 6, 2019

The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel

Wilfrid Israel’s remarkable story has been nearly lost to history. Before the onset of WWII, Israel owned Berlin’s largest department store and was reportedly one of Europe’s richest Jews. During the war, he helped save tens of thousands and played a key role in the Kindertransport program. Despite his prominent social status and assumed heroism,… Read more

January 31, 2019

The Interpreter

The late-middle aged son of a Nazi officer embarks on a road trip with his translator, an older Jewish Slovakian man who believes the officer murdered his family. Beautifully filmed in the countryside and small villages of Slovakia, The Interpreter builds suspense while exploring a most unlikely friendship.  Program will be introduced by Colby College… Read more

February 6, 2019

The Last Suit

At 88, Abraham Bursztein is seeing his place in the world rapidly disappear.  His daughters have sold his Buenos Aires residence, set him up to move to a retirement home and simultaneously patronize him and smother him. But Abraham, who survived the Holocaust and made a successful life in a foreign land, isn’t about to… Read more

February 6, 2019

The Mamboniks

Directed by Peabody Award winner Lex Gillespie, “The Mamboniks” tells a surprising, little-known story: how two cultures, Jewish and Latin, met on the dance floor at a time when America was racially segregated, and anti-Semitism was commonplace. Set to the infectious Afro-Cuban sounds of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, the film traces the mambo’s rise… Read more

February 6, 2019

The Unorthodox

The year is 1983 and Yaakov Cohen, the owner of a Jerusalem printing press, is tired of being pushed around. It seems that he was born on the wrong side, with the wrong family name and in a moment’s decision he decides to establish a Sephardic-ultra-Orthodox list that will run for positions in the Jerusalem… Read more

February 6, 2019

The Waldheim Waltz

In 1986 when Austrian activists were protesting against Kurt Waldheim, filmmaker Ruth Beckermann was both protester and reporter, capturing confrontations between activists and Waldheim supporters. 30 years later, Beckermann uses her footage, as well as contemporaneous news archives, to chronicle Waldheim’s run for the Presidency of Austria amidst allegations of involvement in Nazi atrocities during… Read more

February 6, 2019

Unsettling

Award-winning director Iris Zaki enters the heart of Tekoa, an Israeli settlement in the West-Bank, sets up a table in front of the cafe and and hopes to talk to the locals about their lives. Though fearful at first of the left-wing invader, settlers from various backgrounds gradually open up to her. Their honest, surprising… Read more

February 6, 2019

Wajib

Over one winter’s day in Nazareth, father Abu and son, Shadi ( real-life father and son actors Mohammed and Saleh Bakri) visit friends and family to deliver invitations for the wedding of Abu’s daughter. Along the way,  they reminisce, bicker and laugh together revealing tensions both political and familial. A richly cinematic sense of place,… Read more

February 6, 2019

Who Will Write Our History

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders chose to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, they vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists, but with… Read more