Jewish experiences in film

THE “You Don’t Have to be Jewish”  Film Festival is coming to Canberra tomorrow for the first time and will screen at the National film and Sound Archive from February 19-23.

hannahAlthough some of the films are very serious, the organisers have their tongues firmly in their cheeks when they tell us, “Remember, you don’t have to be Jewish, but it doesn’t hurt!”

Presented by the Jewish Film Foundation of Australia, the aim of the festival is to strengthen community consciousness of Jewish identity, history and culture and to  provide a forum for the exploration of Jewish experiences within the wider ACT community.

Screenings are as follows:

“Hannah Arendt”, at Arc cinema, February 19, 7pm.

In the new film from German director Margarethe von Trotta (Three Sisters, Rosa Luxembourg), Barbara Sukowa portrays the German Jewish philosopher during the period she covered the Adolf Eichmann trial in Israel for The New Yorker magazine.

“Make Hummus Not War” [surely the best title of the festival] February 20, 7pm, at Arc cinema, 7pm.

Documentary filmmaker Trevor Graham’s (“Mabo: Life of an Island Man”) film is a humorous homage to the chickpea dish.

“Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy”, Arc cinema,  February 23, 2pm.

The new documentary, narrated by Joel Grey,  explores the phenomenon of Broadway musical songs being created almost exclusively by Jewish Americans and features interviews with John Kander, Stephen Schwartz, Phyllis Newman, Charles Strouse, Harold Prince, Marc Shaiman, David Shire, Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks and many others. Footage includes performances by David Hyde Pierce, Zero Mostel, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Nathan Lane, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice and Barbra Streisand. It’s a Canberra premiere.

“Fill the Void”, Arc cinema,  February 23, 4:30pm.

One of the best films so far to emerge from the growing Israeli cinema, “Fill the Void” gives us a glimpse into the generally closed community of the Orthodox Jews. Also a Canberra premiere.

THE “You Don’t Have to be Jewish”  Film Festival, National film and Sound Archive,  February 19-23. Information at

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