Films honor Jewish history and present.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City became a movie house during the first couple weekends in March. The films were shown in the Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at the center.
The first was March 2 as the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education offers up “Four Seasons Lodge.” The feature length documentary explores a community of Holocaust survivors who gather each summer in the Catskills Mountains to mark their survival. Executive Director Jean Zeldin says the film is a charming story. “You get to see survivors socially. It is a celebration of their survival and how they have lived life. They are real people, not icons of the Holocaust. It’s a poignant film and there is sadness as the number of survivors dwindles. We get to see survivors as fully developed characters and just not as survivors only.” This film is available for rental. However, with many documentaries, it might be harder to find. Check local bookstores that also sell movies.
The 12th Annual Kansas City Jewish Film Festival returned “in house” after years at the Glenwood and Rio Theatres. Cultural Arts Director Tammy Ruder says the decision to move back to the center was partly to be financially responsible and to let the community see what the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City has to offer. “We actually are planning on having films throughout the year, but the plan is to really kick this off with a great whirlwind of a weekend.”
The films shown as part of the Jewish Film Festival are available in rental or purchase. Most of the movies can be found for purchase at such locations as www.amazon.com.
“Saviors in the Night,” a German film by director Ludi Boeken, is based on the memoirs of the now 97-year-old Marga Spiegel, whose family spent three years with German peasants during World War II. “It’s the sort of film that shows almost impossible odds, but how a Jewish family survived because another family decided to believe in what was right. It is about supporting humanity.” “Circumcise Me: The Comedy of Yisrael Campbell” is a comedic documentary looks at standup comedian Yisrael Campbell. Born Chris Campbell, he converted to Judaism from Catholicism. He converted to Reform, then Conservative and finally Orthodox Judaism.
“Children of the Sun” looks at the Kibbutz movement in Israel. German with subtitles “Max Minsky and Me” is a “coming-of-age” film. The lead character, Nelly, would rather study astronomy and Prince Edouard of Luxembourg then prepare for her Bat Mitzvah. When a school basketball championship offers her a chance to meet the prince, Nelly turns to basketball star Max Minsky. “This is a great family film. This year, the four films have great variety. There’s something for everyone. These stories are about people and community, whether it is a story from the past or a story from today. We are part of the world community. These movies, in part, help create an understanding.”