LAJFF Films 2007


Film Source List



Steel Toes
Feature/Canada/2006/100 minutes

Directed by: David Gow and Mark Adam

Powerful performances mark this
intense drama about a neo-Nazi skinhead
on trial for a racially motivated murder
and the Jewish lawyer who reluctantly
agrees to defend him. Oscar-nominee
David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good
Luck) plays Danny Dunkelman, the
court-appointed attorney assigned the case of Mike Downey (Andrew Walker).

Dark Night
Short/Israel/2005/30 minutes
Directed by: Leonid Prudovsky

An Israeli military jeep, returning from
patrol late at night, strikes a landmine
while still in hostile territory. Two of
the soldiers survive the blast only to be
trapped in a Palestinian town teeming
with militants. They seek refuge in a
house, inhabited by a Palestinian couple.
As the night progresses, the situation
becomes more desperate, and the
soldiers discover something about the couple.

Documentary/USA/2007/80 minutes
Directed by: Adam Hootnick

During the Gaza withdrawal, three
young Israelis will be forced from
their homes, two soldiers will be sent
to evict them, and one activist will
try to help her country avoid a war.
Unsettled is a story about religion and
democracy, soldiers and civilians, and
the kids on the front lines of a battle
where there is no enemy.

Dear Mr. President

Documentary/USA/2006/60 minutes
Directed by: Debra Sugarman

In the conlict between Israel and
Palestine, both sides share one truth:
there are no easy answers.
But five teenage girls from the region,
who met at a peace camp, and a
filmmaker who created the camp feel
they can do something to help with
this inherited situation…and they are
traveling halfway around the world
to try.



Brother’s Shadow
Feature/USA/2006/89 minutes
Directed by: Todd S. Yellin

Scott Cohen plays the black sheep brother returning to his family after many years only to discover his twin brother has just died. His father (Judd Hirsch) greets him with skepticism and disdain, receding into his strong Jewish faith rather than reconnecting with his prodigal son.

Comme T’y Es Belle (Gorgeous)
Feature/France/2006/84 minutes
Directed by: Lisa Azuelos
French with English subtitles

A French Jewish Sex in the City – four worldly, attractive Jewish women meet regularly for frank discussions about men, marriage, families and religion.

My Mexican Shivah

Feature/Mexico/2006/102 minutes
Directed by: Alejandro Springall
Spanish, Hebrew, and Yiddish with English subtitles

Family and friends sit shivah in Mexico City for Moishe Tartakovsky, a much beloved patriarch. Mourners include a Catholic ex-lover, an Orthodox ex-convict grandson, and a troupe of mariachi musicians. Two Yiddish-speaking spirits wryly observe the mourners while accounting for Moishe’s soul.

The Bracelet of Bordeaux

Feature/USA/2007/103 minutes
Directed by: Casey Kelly

Two pre-teen girls solve a major dognapping crime with the help of a magical bracelet. In the process, they learn about friendship, courage and the importance of hanging with the right crowd. The movie also includes a message for today’s youth based on an important lesson in history.

The Metamorphosis
Short/USA/2006/10 minutes
Directed by: Ari Mark

Stan Leiber begins to notice a pain and pounding at the back of his head. One morning he awakens to ind a growth has matured into a yarmulke.

The Journey of Vaan Nguyen
Documentary/Israel/2005/84 minutes
Directed by: Duki Dror

In her painful blog, Vaan Nguyen unfolds the absurdities of her life as an Israeli-born Vietnamese. Her father was one of the many “boat-people” who led Vietnam in 1975 and were given asylum in the “Land of the Jews.” The time has come to go back home, and they both leave to Vietnam. Their journey becomes a parable on the loss of identity and on the fate of refugees.

Yiddish Theater: A Love Story

Documentary/USA/2006/80 minutes
Directed by: Dan Katzir

This film is about the life of actress Zypora Spaisman, who kept alive the famed Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre for 42 years.

Documentary/Israel/2005/56 minutes
Directed by: David Gavro

Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles

20-year-old Sisai, an Ethiopian immigrant in Israel, lives with his adoptive family – the Gavros. Father Gavro returns from Ethiopia with news of Sisai’s biological father’s whereabouts. Sisai does not share his family’s excitement.

Short/Israel/2004/35 minutes
Directed by: Orly Malessa
Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles

In Ethiopia, Almaz dreamed about inding love, but her dream is shattered and she is forced into a brokered marriage. Twenty years later, in Israel, she confronts her husband as if for the first time.

The Longing: The Forgotten Jews of South America
Documentary/USA/2007/75 minutes
Directed by: Gabriela Bohm

A small group of South Americans long to afirm their faith. Their ancestors – European Jews – were forced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition. Isolated in Catholic countries, rejected by local Jewish communities, they battle to become Jews regardless of the consequences.

Great Cantors of the Golden Age
& Great Cantors in Cinema

Documentary, digitally restored/2006/USA/110 minutes
Produced by: Cantor Murray E. Simon

Featuring some of the rarest and finest performances of renowned cantors, from 1927 to 1956. These films coincide with a resurgence in interest in cantorial music and the great cantors of the first half of the 20th century.

Bringing Kosher Back!
Young Professionals Night

A night of short films

ATID is doing for culture, what Justin Timberlake did for Sexy…

An evening showcasing Jewish themed work created by young Jewish artists and filmmakers (ages 21-39) on cell phones. Followed by a line up of new short films including an encore of West Bank Story!



O Jerusalem
Feature/France/USA/2007/105 minutes
Directed by: Elie Chouraqui

An epic tale of friendship between
two men, one Jewish and the other Arab,
as the state of Israel is being created. Starring Ian Holm as Ben Gurion, J.J
Feild and Saïd Taghmaoui.

King of Beggars

Feature/Israel/2006/98 minutes
Directed by: Uri Paster

The film follows the adventures
of Fishke from humble bathhouse
attendant in a late-16th century Russian
shtetl to leader of a ifghting brigade of
Jewish outcasts. This is the story of the
rise and fall of a Jewish warrior leader,
and his inevitable struggle against
both a divided Jewish community and
the hostile masters of his coincidental “homeland”. Starring Shahar Sorek.

A Love to Hide
Feature/France/2006/102 minutes
Directed by: Christian Faure

French with English subtitles

A young Jewish girl looking to escape
the clutches of the Third Reich after
seeing her parents and sister brutally
slain while attempting to make their
way to England is sheltered by an old
friend whose status as a member of
the “third” sex soon leads the Gestapo
pounding on his door as well.

Pesya’s Necklace
Short/Israel/2006/35 minutes
Directed by: Jorge Gurvich

Eighty-year-old Pesya is determined
to travel to her parents’ house located
in Poland. She intends to find a
golden necklace, which was hidden
by her and her sister before they were
taken to Auschwitz.

As Seen Through These Eyes
Documentary/USA/2007/70 minutes
Directed by: Hilary Helstein

Narrator Maya Angelou tells the story
of a brave group of people who
fought Hitler with the only weapons
they had: charcoal, pencil stubs,
shreds of paper and memories etched
in their minds. These artists took their
fate into their own hands to make a
powerful statement about the human
spirit, enduring against unimaginable
odds. It features the children of
Terezin (60 Minutes) and Dina Babbitt,
personal artist to Dr. Mengele. Score
features music by Sony’s Anna Nalick
and Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics.

Swimming in Auschwitz
Documentary/USA/2007/62 minutes
Directed by: Jon Kean

The interwoven paths of six women provide a glimpse into life, death and survival during World War II. Through friendships, religion and even laughter, these women fight to preserve their humanity. This uplifting film is the first of its kind to focus solely on the female experience of the Holocaust.

The World Was Ours

Documentary/USA/2007/58 minutes
Directed by: Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren

Narrated by Mandy Patinkin, this
film focuses on the pre-war life of the
vibrant Jewish community of Vilna
(then Poland, now Lithuania) depicting
its hopes, dreams and remarkable achievements prior to its complete
destruction in World War II.

The Ritchie Boys
Documentary/Germany/Canada/2004/90 minutes
Directed by: Christian Bauer

This film is the untold story of a group of young men who fled Nazi Germany and returned to Europe as soldiers in U.S. uniforms. They knew the psychology and the language of the enemy better than anybody else.

Documentary/Canada/2006/72 minutes
Directed by: Manfred Becker

Fatherland is a personal essay on history
and memory. A filmmaker sets out
on a quest to understand his father’s
past and what it means to be German
living in the shadow of history.

Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art
Documentary/USA/2006/14 minutes
Directed by: Jim Ruxin

Arthur Szyk: Illuminator
Documentary/USA/Poland/2005/55 minutes
Directed by: Piotr Zrebski

These films examine the life and works of Polish-born Jewish artist Arthur Szyk, who was the greatest miniaturist of the 20th century.

Jews in the Warsaw Uprising
Documentary/Poland/2006/56 minutes
Directed by: Anna Ferens
and Anna Kowalewska-Onaszkiewicz

This film reveals a rather obscure event in history – participation of Jews in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. They fought in insurgent formations against Germans.

The Torch
Documentary/USA/2007/85 minutes

Directed by: Jodi Binstock
Work In Progress

61 high-school seniors from Los
Angeles journey back to Poland, with
13 Holocaust survivors to bear witness
as the historical torch is passed.

Voices From the Lake
Documentary/USA/2003/87 minutes
Directed by: Dr. J. Michael Hagopian

This film on the Armenian Genocide
tells of the tragedy that befell the
Armenian citizens of Kharpert at the
hands of the Turks in 1915 through
the words and photos of its own