The 22nd annual JFilm, formerly known as the Pittsburgh Jewish-Israeli Film Festival, opens its 11-day run on Thu., April 16. The festival offers 20 recent films from Israel and around the world representing Jewish experiences from the comic to the dramatic, as presented through narrative features and documentaries.
Films screen at the following venues: Manor, in Squirrel Hill; Carmike 10, at South Hills Village; Waterworks, in Aspinwall; Jewish Community Center, in Squirrel Hill; Seton Hill University, Greensburg; and Rodef Shalom, Oakland. Tickets for most films are $10 for adults and $5 for those under 18. For tickets and more information, call 412-992-5203 or visit www.JfilmPgh.org.
Below are reviews for four films screening the first week:
THE ART DEALER. A coincidental encounter with a valuable painting sets a Parisian journalist investigating whether the artwork once belonged to her family, before it disappeared under shadowy circumstances during World War II. As the rocks of the past are turned over, revelations about her extended family prove both illuminating and troubling. François Margolin's film is another entry in the cinematic sub-genre about art pilfered from Jews during World War II — fascinating even with its odd shifts in tone from serious to somewhat comic. In French, with subtitles. 5 p.m. Sat., April 18 (Manor) and 7 p.m. Wed., April 22 (Seton Hill)
24 DAYS. This French thriller is based on a 2006 incident in which a young Jewish man from Paris was kidnapped and held for ransom. In this adaptation, the distraught family cooperates with the police, who counsel the best strategy is to directly negotiate with the kidnappers in increasingly harrowing ways. Part procedural, part indictment of the institutional failure to see the kidnapping as a hate crime (and thus switch up strategies), Alexandre Arcady's drama is compelling material. In French, with subtitles. 9 p.m. Sat., April 18, and 5:30 p.m. Fri., April 24. Manor
THE GO-GO BOYS: THE INSIDE STORY OF CANNON FILMS. Hilla Medalia's entertaining documentary charts the rise and fall of Cannon Films, the incredibly successful upstart film studio of the 1970s and '80s. (It gave the world Chuck Norris and Breakin'.) The company was started by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who had a knack for producing popular fare quickly and cheaply, until they overreached, causing serious damage to both their corporate interests and their lifelong personal partnership. In English, and Hebrew, with subtitles. 7:30 p.m. Tue., April 21. Waterworks
FELIX AND MEIRA. This sensitive and quietly searing drama from Maxime Giroux depicts a relationship that slowly builds between two unhappy, dissatisfied souls in Montreal — Meira (Hadas Yaron), a young Hasidic mother, and Felix (Martin Dubreuil), a secular man she meets at a bakery. Caught in the middle is Meira's husband (Luzer Twersky), who sees, but cannot ameliorate, Meira's unhappiness. Outsiders Felix and Meira find each other, but what is less sure is whether their searches for something else will be enough to bridge their differences and sustain a relationship. In English, and French and Yiddish, with subtitles. 5 p.m. Thu., April 23. Manor