"The Syrian Bride"
"The Syrian Bride" will run on July 23.

Diverse film series opens this week

Posted June 22, 2006

The 2006 lineup of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center's presentation of the Boston Jewish Film Festival features a diverse palette of thought-provoking titles. While the films have particular resonance among Jewish audiences, they find purchase in the larger film community with their universal themes of place, identity, striving, and the quest for security and belonging in an often hostile world. For seven weeks this summer, audiences will have the chance to treat themselves to compelling dramas, touching comedies, and searing documentaries.

The season kicks off June 25 with "Only Human" (Argentina/Spain, 2004), a comedy of errors in which Leni Dalinsky brings Rafi, her Palestinian fiancé, home to meet her eccentric family. In the tradition of "La Cage Au Folles" and other classic comedies of mistaken identity, Leni's family mistakes Rafi for an Israeli Jew and pulls him to the family bosom with unexpected ardency. Judith L. Ganz, Board Chair of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, will speak on behalf of the film series.

On July 2 and 3, audiences will be treated to "Live and Become" (France/Israel, 2004), the epic story of an Ethiopian boy airlifted from Sudan to Israel in 1984's Operation Moses. Despite a successful adoption by a loving French Sephardic family in Tel Aviv, Schlomo, as he is renamed by his family, harbors a powerful secret; he's the child of a Christian mother who had him pose as a Jew to escape the drought and conflict-ravaged region.

On July 9 the center will show "The Man Who Loved Haugesund" (Norway, 2002), a documentary about Moritz Rabinowitz, the only Jew in Haugesland, Norway, who in 1911 built a clothing empire that provided employment to 3000 people. When Germany occupied Norway, Rabinowitz's anti-Nazi activities made him a wanted man. The documentary crystallizes the chilling power of small-town anti-Semitism. The documentary will be paired with "An Islander Through and Through of the American Jewish Faith." This 21-minute vignette by local oral historian Lindsey Lee chronicles the life of Dorothy Brickman, the first girl of the Jewish faith born on Martha's Vineyard. Filmmaker Lindsay Lee will attend the screening.

"Metallic Blues" (Canada/Germany/Israel, 2004) will screen on July 17. This offbeat buddy road picture by director Danny Verete ("Yellow Asphalt") tells the story of Israeli used car salesmen Shmuel (Avi Kushnir) and Siso (Moshe Ivgy) who buy a '85 Lincoln Continental and drive it to Germany with dreams of selling it at a large profit. The inevitable collapse of their scheme results in touching comic introspection by both characters.

On July 23, audiences will have the chance to see "The Syrian Bride" (Israel/France, 2004) by director Eran Riklis ("Cup Final" and "Borders"). This film has won more awards abroad than any other Israeli film to date. The drama details an arranged marriage in the Druze community in an Israeli-occupied township. When a family promises their beautiful daughter to a Syrian television star, they come to grips with the harsh reality that once she crosses into Syria, she'll never be permitted to return to Israel. Sara L. Rubin, executive director of The Boston Jewish Film Festival, will introduce this exceptional film.

"The Ritchie Boys"(USA/Germany/Italy, 2004) will screen on July 30. This stunning documentary describes the training program at Camp Ritchie in Maryland, where the US Army trained an elite band of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in espionage. The Ritchie Boys returned to Nazi Germany in wartime, intent on collapsing the enemy's morale. Hans Loeser, Boston attorney and former "Ritchie Boy," will attend.

The festival concludes on August 6 with "Turn Left at the End of the World" (France/Israel, 2003), a sexy comic drama about two Jewish immigrant families, one from India and the other from Morocco. As the two families settle in the Israeli desert near each other, the adults engage in cultural warfare while their teenage daughters plunge headfirst into the cultural upheaval of the 1960s.

For more information on the film festival and the upcoming lecture series call the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center at 508-693-074 or vist