Ilise Gersten Bush
Curator, San Diego Jewish Film Festival, sdcjc.lfjcc.org
Tonight’s opening film, Sixty-Six, is a quirky coming-of-age comedy that reminds me in spirit of Hope and Glory. It’s the story of Billy, who holds on to his childhood and learns truths about his family as bombs rain down on London during World War II. It’s funny, too.
Also screening is Galilee Eskimos, in which the aged founders of a kibbutz wake up to find the kibbutz has been sold out from under them. Instead of regressing into self-pity, their pioneer spirit is re-awakened. I call this the Israeli Cocoon because that film was about residents of a retirement home given the gift of renewed youth by visitors from another planet.
We’re also showing Six Days, the most comprehensive film about the 1967 Six Day War that I’ve ever seen. Another comprehensive documentary is Who Killed the Electric Car? Make sure to watch all the bonus features. It’s a real eye-opener.
Hope and Glory
(England) 1987, MGM
(USA) 1985, 20th Century Fox
Who Killed the Electric Car?
(USA) 2006, Sony Pictures
Co-chair, San Diego Jewish Film Festival
Beaufort, showing at the SDJFF, is an intense, realistic depiction of life in the trenches. It recalls the haunting experience of Das Boot, where tension, boredom, and confinement converge to heighten the trauma of military life. A soldier’s duty is to wait and obey, never knowing what the big picture is, stuck in an existential hell, which is following orders.
Another of our films, Jellyfish, unfolds in a similar style to Crash. You meet random characters that seem inexplicably remote from each other, yet as their tales unfold, their threads of commonality are unmasked in a surprising way.
A Love to Hide, a French World War II thriller, is a devastating tale of love, treachery, ambition, and betrayal during the Nazi occupation. It reminds me of The Black Book, in which no one was who or what they seemed to be. Both films are excellent illustrations of ordinary people trying to survive.
Das Boot - The Director's Cut
(Germany) 1982, Sony Pictures
Crash (Widescreen Edition)
(USA) 2005, Lionsgate
(Netherlands/Germany) 2006, Sony Pictures
Past chair, San Diego Jewish Film Festival
We are showing the first four episodes of the Israeli miniseries A Touch Away during the festival. It’s the juicy story of forbidden love between a secular, Russian-Israeli man and an ultra-Orthodox woman. It reminds me of The Thorn Birds, an Australian miniseries, which is an equally juicy story of forbidden love between a priest and a woman.
She’s Got It, also showing at this year’s festival, is a fun bank caper about three women, unlucky at love but trying their luck at getting rich through unorthodox means. It’s reminiscent of Ocean’s Eleven, a must-see for anyone fond of George Clooney, which I’m assuming is most people.
Our closing-night film is Making Trouble, a documentary about female Jewish comics through the years. Fanny Brice is one of the comics featured. Brice was wonderfully portrayed by Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, which also starred Omar Sharif as her husband.
The Thorn Birds
(Australia/USA) 1983, Warner Home Video
Ocean's Eleven (Widescreen Edition)
(USA) 2001, Warner Home Video
(USA) 1968, Sony Pictures