The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival is back with a brand-new selection of culturally-diverse, Jewish-inspired films that will entertain, educate and inspire audiences of all ages. The festival will take place virtually and moviegoers will enjoy wide ranging cinematic works including documentaries, short and feature length films, that will include stories of love, loss, learning and survival.
November 13 — November 16

Fig Tree

Ethiopian-Israeli writer-director Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian makes a startlingly confident feature debut with this story of lives torn asunder by civil war. Set in Addis Ababa in 1989, Fig Tree follows a teenage girl’s harrowing coming of age. Mina is 16 years old. The Ethiopian Civil War has been underway her entire life. She lives with her brother and grandmother in a humble house with newsprint for wallpaper. The family is Jewish and is planning to flee Ethiopia for Israel, where Mina’s mother awaits their reunion. But this plan leaves out the person Mina loves most: Eli, her Christian boyfriend, who lives in the woods so as to evade being drafted into Mengistu Haile Mariam’s army. Mina hatches a scheme to save Eli, but everyone and everything seems set against her.

Crescendo

When a world famous conductor tries to create an Israeli-Palestinian orchestra, it takes all his skill and resources to overcome the discord and get them to play in harmony, rising to a tense and emotional finale. With the first glimmer of hope, however, the political opponents of the orchestra show them how strong they are.

Broken Mirrors
Midwest Premiere

Shadowed by a strict, military father who inflicts severe methods of punishment as a form of discipline, seventeen year old Ariella commits a grave error that her father isn’t willing to punish her for. Seeking a punishment of her own, Ariella embarks on a dark quest where she will discover a secret to her father’s past that will lead them to confront one another.

How About Adolf?

What should have been a fun evening quickly gets out of hand when Thomas announces he and his pregnant girlfriend are planning to name their son Adolf. This scandalous news leads to bitter confrontation, with all kinds of secrets coming out.

Film Discussion: November 17 at 2:00 pm with Wolfgang Moessinger, Consul General from Germany



November 16 — November 19

Here We Are
Chicago Premiere

Aharon has devoted his life to raising his son Uri. They live together in a gentle routine, away from the real world. But Uri is autistic, and now as a young adult it might be time for him to live in a specialized home. While on their way to the institution, Aharon decides to run away with his son and hits the road, knowing that Uri is not ready for this separation. Or is it, in fact, his father who is not ready?

Syndrome K — Midwest Premiere

Syndrome K is the true story about a highly contagious, highly fictitious disease created by three Roman Catholic doctors during the holocaust to hide Jews in a Vatican-affiliated hospital.

Film Discussion: November 19 at 11:00 am with Stephen Edwards, filmmaker

Winter Journey
Midwest Premiere

”Winter Journey” is based on American radio host Martin Goldsmith’s book about his Jewish parents, who fled Nazi Germany. Both were talented musicians, but after the Nuremberg Laws were enacted in 1935 they were only able to perform as members of the Jewish Cultural Federation, an extraordinary artistic organization fully controlled by the Reich Chamber of Culture. This film brings to life the reality of their beautiful and painful love story, using remarkable and ingenuously edited archive material. It also includes reenactments of the conversations Goldsmith had with his father as preparation for the book. Martin Goldsmith plays himself, as the unseen interviewer, while a vulnerable Bruno Ganz is playing his father Georg Goldsmith. It was Bruno Ganz’ last part before he died in 2019.

This film is based on the book The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany by Martin Goldsmith.

Film Discussion: November 19 at 7:00 pm with Martin Goldsmith, author

On Broadway

An all-star cast tells the inside story of the Broadway theater and how it came back from the brink thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and a sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce. Legends of the stage and screen including Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen take us behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking and beloved shows, from “A Chorus Line” to “Hamilton.”

Iconic performances by Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin lead the way on a hurly burly ride through Times Square, once again the main street of American show business in ON BROADWAY, directed by Academy-Award nominee Oren Jacoby.

Film Discussion: November 22 at 2:00 pm with Oren Jacoby, filmmaker