St. Louis Jewish Film Festival plans summer events

‘The Last Mentsch’

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival continues its 21st year with two events at the Jewish Community Center’s Arts & Education Building, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. 

At 4 p.m. Sunday, July 10, the festival will present a double feature. 

The first film, “A Children’s Song,” is a nostalgic short feature film directed by St. Louisan Shayna Cohen. The story centers on two students competing for a music scholarship who discover that their original compositions are based on a single family song. Both become determined to prove ownership, leading them to uncover the long-lost true origin of the melody: a story of salvation and hope when more than 20,000 Jews emigrated to Shanghai during World War II.

The second film, “The Last Mentsch,” is a feature film produced in association with Germany, France and Switzerland. It  looks at the cost of forgetting the past and the power of remembering it. Without family, a synagogue or a single Jewish friend, Marcus, a hardened Holocaust survivor has so effectively created a new identity that, when faced with his own mortality, the rabbis refuse his appeal to be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Cologne. Determined to return to his birthplace and establish his ancestry, he enlists the help of a young Turkish woman with a troubled history of her own. The unlikely duo sets out on a journey that will irrevocably change them both.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, the festival will screen the French film, “Once in a Lifetime,” which is based on a true story that involves inner city Paris students. Their lives are changed when their no-nonsense history teacher enters them in a high school competition with the theme of what it meant to be a teen in a Nazi concentration camp. She is determined to engage her troubled, apathetic, multi-cultural class in a project that will instill a sense of purpose and ambition.  The project is first met with resistance until a moving, face-to-face encounter with a Holocaust survivor. 

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Tickets are $12 (student tickets for those age 16 and under are $8).

Purchase tickets by phone 314 442-3179 or online at brownpapertickets.com. For more information about the film festival, a project of the J, visit stljewishfilmfestival.org.holoca