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20th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival Continues

Festival Runs Through February 21st

Credit: Menemsha Films

Above: "A Matter of Size"


KPBS film critic Beth Accomando talks about the 20th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival


The San Diego Jewish Film Festival continues to run through next Sunday February 21 with the primary theater location being the AMC La Jolla. Here are some additional highlights.

The SDJFF continues to be one of the best for using film as the starting point for discussion, and for looking to film as not just as art but as social documents. So there continues to be a strong emphasis on documentaries and on post film Q&A’s and panels.

At a festival, you sometimes only have one shot at seeing a film. So if you missed seeing the animated film “Mary and Max” (that I highlighted earlier) from the opening day, you’re out of luck. The film has been well received but won’t play again but seek it out on Amazon and Comcast On Demand. But other films that are generating positive buzz will repeat, like the festival’s opening night film, “A Matter of Size.” It will screen again on February 18 (AMC La Jolla). It’s a film that serves up an unexpected mix of cultures as a 340-pound Israeli man is introduced to the world of Japanese Sumo. The film turns out to be an odd and endearing mix of underdog sports film, romance, and self-discovery.

If you are tuning in late to the festival, have no fear there are still plenty of films to see. Germany’s “The Wave” (February 17, AMC La Jolla) looks to a real life high school class project that goes out of control. A political science teacher decides that rather than discuss what fascism is he wants his students to engage in a simulation that proves a scary study in human nature. It calls to mind another German film, “Das Experiment,” which also uncovered an ugly and scary side of human nature.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Film Movement

"For My Father"

The Middle East conflict comes up in a number of films but the way films depict that conflict continues to change and continues to broaden to consider the complexities of what’s going on politically and socially in the region. In “For My Father” (February 20, Reading Carmel Mountain), a Palestinian suicide bomber who’s triggering device fails ends up staying with a Holocaust survivor and then falls in love with a Jewish girl. The film shows that divisions cannot always be drawn in black and white. The acknowledges that until you consider what makes someone like Tarek, the suicide bomber, be willing to detonate a bomb that will take his own life as well as those of innocent people, you cannot effectively deal with the problem.

The festival closes called “Eli and Ben,” the feature debut of Ori Ravid and it explores what happens to a father and son when the father is arrested and the young child tries to determine what the truth is.

I hope you will venture out to sample the fare at this year’s SDJFF.

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