Jewish Film Festival kicks off June 24


The twelfth annual Jewish Film Festival “Celebrating Cinema” is set to kick off Sunday, June 24, at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema, with a screening of a searing drama Steel Toes. The festival runs Sunday, June 24, to Thursday, June 28, with all films shown at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema.

The opening Premiere Party takes place at 6 p.m. at Plaza Frontenac, with screenings of Steel Toes before and after the party, at 4:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. This is the St. Louis premiere of the film, which is an adaptation of the play Cherry Docs. The film stars David Strathairn, who played Edward R. Murrow in last year’s Oscar-winning Good Night And Good Luck. The play, Cherry Docs, will be part of The New Jewish Theatre 2007-2008 season. Tickets for the opening night party are $95 per person, which includes the party, opening film and a ticket to another festival film of your choice. Reservations are required and dietary laws are observed at the party. Tickets for the opening night film only are $15.


A review of the opening night film Steel Toes appeared in last week’s ‘St. Louis Jewish Light.’ Reviews of the other films in the festival appear this week.

Tickets for the opening night party, and other films in the festival, are available from the St. Louis Jewish Film Festival through their hotline at 314-442-3179. Tickets are also available at the JCC Carlyn H. Wohl Building through June 23. More information on ticket prices and the festival are available by calling the hotline.

The festival has several special highlights, especially among documentaries, this year. Besides the opening night film, A Love To Hide is a beautifully photographed, wonderfully acted, emotional powerful French narrative feature about a young Jewish woman hidden in Paris by a gay man. Another highlight is the Academy Award-winning short West Bank Story, a parody of West Side Story, starring St. Louisan Ben Newmark.

Among the documentaries, there are some gems not to be missed. Wrestling With Angels, about Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner, and The Rape Of Europa, about recovering and restoring art stolen by the Nazis, are among the best. From Shtetl To Swing, an all-star history of music and Jewish immigrants in New York, is perhaps the most fun, entertaining feature in the festival. Short documentaries Beautiful Music, about an autistic but musically gifted Palestinian girl, and Displaced: Miracle At St. Ottilien, about a pair of American soldiers who rescued starving Buchenwald survivors, are inspiring gems you don’t want to miss.

Famous names pop up in films throughout the festival. Besides From Shtetl To Swing’s footage of stars such as Fannie Brice, Sophie Tucker, the Marx Brothers and more, the drama The Aryan Couple stars Martin Landau, while Willem Dafoe and Haley Joel Osment are featured in Edges of the Lord. The Israeli film Three Mothers stars some longtime Israeli cinema names, plus the film debut of the country’s biggest singing sensation.

With five feature-length dramas, one comedy short, six feature-length documentaries and five short documentaries, on a wide range of topics, there is something for every interest in this year’s St. Louis Jewish Film Festival.

Read Reviews of films playing during the 2007 St. Louis Jewish Film Festival:

  • ‘Knowledge’ has good message about peace

  • ‘Blues on the Beach’ is gritty look at terror, Tel Aviv

  • ‘Displaced’ tells true story of survival

  • ‘Steel Toes’ peels back layers of prejudice

  • ‘Casual Cabaret’ shows slated for summer

  • Jewish heroine adds twist to WWII tale

Read Reviews of films playing during the 2007 St. Louis Jewish Film Festival: