The New York Jewish Film Festival might not be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in quite the style it was hoping, but it’s still hosting a stylish two weeks of fiction and nonfiction shorts and features as well as panel discussions and Q&As. Presented by the Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center, the festival kicked off January 13 with Nir Bergman’s Here We Are (available through January 16), about divorced parents dealing with their grown autistic son; Bergman will participate in a free talk on January 14 at 2:00.
The 2021 centerpiece selection is Anders Østergaard and Erzsébet Rácz’s Winter Journey (available January 21), starring the great Bruno Ganz in his final role, playing flutist Günther “George” Goldschmidt, father of radio commentator Martin Goldsmith, who portrays himself in the film, based on his memoir, The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany. Østergaard and Martin Goldsmith will discuss the film in a free talk on January 22 at 2:00.
The virtual festival concludes with another family affair, Susan Fanshel and Veronica Selver’s documentary Irmi (January 26), about German Jewish refugee Irmi Selver, Veronica’s mother, with Hanna Schygulla reading narration from Irmi’s memoirs. There will be a free talk with the directors January 27 at 2:00.
Among the other films to look out for are Judith Helfand’s Love & Stuff and Absolutely No Spitting (January 22), about the director’s adoption of a daughter when she was fifty, followed by the death of her mother; Ruthy Pribar’s Asia (January 15), with Unorthodox breakout star Shira Haas playing a teenager living with her single mother (Alena Yiv); and Oren Jacoby’s On Broadway (January 22), honoring the Great White Way with archival footage and interviews with Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Hugh Jackman, Christine Baranski, John Lithgow, and others. (You can watch Jacoby’s On Broadway: Give My Regard to Broadway, a short about Covid-19’s impact on theater, for free here.)
In addition, the festival has teamed up with the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan for a special MLK Day event, a live Q&A on January 18 at 2:00 with Dr. Shari Rogers about her documentary Shared Legacies, part of the JCC’s Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival, which runs January 14-18. The film can be accessed beginning January 16 at 10:00 am here. Keep watching this space for select reviews as NYJFF 2021 continues.
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