The 21st Annual Jewish Film Festival is opening this weekend at the Gershman Y in Philadelphia. The festival will feature films from France, Poland and America that revolve around the central theme of “Life, Laughter, and Love.” All are award-winning films, some even having prestigious awards from festivals in Cannes and elsewhere.
The festival opens with Dad on the Run, by French filmmaker Dante Desarthe.
“It tells the story of someone who runs away, but ends up finding himself,” Desarthe said.
The film tracks Jonas as he continues a North African tradition of burying his newborn’s foreskin three days after it is cut off in the bris, the Jewish tradition of circumcising newborn boys. While Jonas attempts to bury the foreskin, he manages to loose it, and has to go on a “righteous chase” through Paris to find it.
Other films include I am Alive and I Love You, a French love story; The Sweetest Sound and Obsessed with Jews, two American documentaries; Once We Grew Up, a “compelling” French story; as well as various Polish films.
Although the festival itself is held at the Gershmen Y, it is sponsored by the Y’s umbrella organization, the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia. This year’s co-chairs, Archie Perlmutter and Judy Golden said they are “proud to present seven extraordinary film programs laced with comedy, romance and passion.”
Dad on the Run will kick the series off with three showings this weekend (two Saturday, one Sunday afternoon), and another Monday evening. Ticket prices vary for these shows. The festival itself continues through April 22.
Opening night will also feature speaker Adam Nossiter, a former New York Times reporter, who will be speaking about his recently published book, “The Algeria Hotel: France, Memory, and the Second World War.”
Other speakers throughout the festival include Dr. Marc Sageman, the son of Holocaust survivors who grew up in France, filmmaker Alan Berliner, and director Renaud Cohen.
The comedies and love stories from all over the world will bring a new feel to this year’s film festival, as they promise to lighten spirits and touch the hearts of the people of Philadelphia.
The Gershman Y is located at 401 Broad St. (at Broad and Pine streets). For ticket and show time information, call Robert Arrow at 215-446-3033.