The SDJFF is a sleek package that hasn’t lost its personality. Its presenters, mostly female and mostly based at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, mix a rich menu that is kosher but not insular. Jewish-themed works, the usual strong mix of Israeli entries, and lots of smart discussions and youth events and bargain deals have made the fest loved by many.
No longer anchored at the AMC La Jolla Village, the event has spread to the Reading Town Square in Clairemont, Regal’s San Marcos theater, and the Carlsbad Village Theatre, plus some gigs at the JCC’s Garfield Theatre in La Jolla and the UltraStar Hazard Center in Mission Valley.
Guy Nattiv’s Israeli drama about a bar mitzvah boy, Mabul (The Flood), opens the spree on Thursday night, February 9. The closing feature comes ten days later with Wolfgang Murnberger’s tale of an Austrian Jew and his Nazi “friend,” My Best Enemy.
Scanning just the documentaries, I am drawn to Vikram Jayanti’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector; Ruedi Gerber’s work on dancer Anna Halprin, Breath Made Visible; Raymond Ley’s Eichmann’s End: Love, Betrayal, Death; Peter Rosen’s God’s Fiddler: Jascha Heifetz; Duki Dror’s film on Erich Mendelsohn and his wife, Incessant Visions — Letter from an Architect; Britta Wauer’s In Heaven, Underground about a Jewish cemetery in Berlin; Andy Sommer’s Mahler, Autopsy of a Genius; and Ronit Kerstner’s view of a Catholic priest delving into Judaism, Torn. Sure to entertain is Ian Ayres’s Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom (Curtis’s wife Jill will appear).
Also a Tel Aviv salsa comedy, the Polish political thriller Little Rose, and even Jews in Toons. The schmear of options is at sdjff.org.
Reviewed in the movie capsules: Big Miracle and One for the Money.