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The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 7/19-8/5

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 9, 2018 06:30pm | Post a Comment

SF Jewish Film Festival

Amoeba is proud to co-present five films at the 38th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), which runs July 19 - August 5 at locations all around the Bay Area. This year, the festival will present more than 65 films and 135 individual screenings, performances, and events in San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Rafael, Oakland, and Berkeley. To see the full schedule and purchase single tickets or passes, please visit the SFJFF ticketing page HERE! Plus, enter the code AMOEBA38 when buying your tickets and you'll receive a special discount!

Amoeba Music will be co-presenting the following films:

The City Without Jews (with live score performed by Sascha Jacobsen and the Musical Art Quintet)City Without Jews
Sunday, July 22. 7pm. Castro Theatre
Missing for more than 90 years, the final parts of the silent Austrian film The City Without Jews were finally found in a Parisian flea-market. When the Filmarchiv Austria 2016 announced the rediscovery of the long missing scenes, a worldwide effort to complete the restoration was sparked. Over 700 individual donors supported the project, saving the remaining prints from chemical delay.
Based on the novel, The City without Jews written by Hugo Bettauer in 1922, satirizing an utopian idea of expelling the Jews from Vienna. The film adaptation by director Hans Karl Breslauer was accompanied in 1924 by sanctions by the National Socialists and in 1925 Bettauer was shot dead by a National Socialist. The rise of the NSDAP in Austria with means of terror resulted in the so-called Anschluss 1938. What followed was the expulsion and murder of Central European Jews in the Holocaust.

Blue Note Records: Beyond the NotesBlue Note Records: Beyond the Notes
Saturday, July 21. 3:35pm. Castro Theatre
Sunday, August 5. 4:05pm. Piedmont Theatre.

In the 1950s and ’60s Blue Note Records boasted a roster that included Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan -- now all larger-than-life figures in the world of jazz. And while many of them recorded for other labels as well, it was with Blue Note that they did their most innovative, most memorable work. Even the cool album covers are considered classics of modern graphic design.
Sophie Huber’s documentary explores what was behind the making of Blue Note. As you might expect, the founders were a couple of infatuated music lovers who insisted that the artists play what was inside them. Not trying to make “hits,” although a few hits did come. Arthur Lion and Frank Wolff, Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany who came to America in the 1930s and discovered jazz, were so taken with the music that they began to record it, just for themselves, before creating the label in 1939. Interviewees like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Lou Donaldson tell anecdotes about Lion and Wolff, reflecting their deep admiration. This is a story of how sincere devotion to the music resulted in a legacy of African American art that is still an influence on young musicians. A complete delight from beginning to end.

Sammy Davis Jr.: Gotta Be MeSammy Davis Jr: Gotta Be Me
Sunday, July 22. 1:45pm. CineArts.
Sunday, July 29. 7:45pm. Castro Theatre.
Saturday, August 4. 4pm. Piedmont Theatre.
Sunday, August 5. 4:10pm. Smith Rafael.

At the age of three Sammy's immense talent was already on display as he sang and tap danced his way across the country performing with his father and godfather. In the 1950s, he notoriously dated Hollywood star Kim Novak prompting Columbia Pictures bigwig Harry Cohn to order him to stick to Black women. Following a serious car accident in which he lost an eye, Davis converted to Judaism. In the 1960s, the only African American member of the legendary Rat Pack, he supported John F. Kennedy's candidacy, marched in Selma with Martin Luther King and became a prominent activist in the civil rights movement. And then in 1972 he shocked the country by supporting Richard Nixon for reelection, giving him a famous hug on stage during the Republican convention.
It's hard to imagine a more talented and groundbreaking performer who led a more complicated and contradictory life than Davis. He did not shy away from controversy and was not afraid to use his name and talent for a good cause. Featuring excerpts from his exhilarating performances and interviews with the likes of Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, and Whoopi Goldberg, director Sam Pollard's riveting documentary unpacks the apparent contradictions and presents a very full and very human portrait of this complex, courageous and conflicted man.

Shalom Bollywood: The Untold History of Indian CinemaShalom Bollywood
Saturday, July 21. 1:45pm. Castro Theatre.
Thursday, July 26. 12:10pm. CineArts.
Saturday, August 4. 11:30pm. Smith Rafael.
Sunday, August 5. 12:15pm. Piedmont Theatre.

The influence of American Jews in the early US film industry is well known, with the pioneering role of moguls like Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, and the Selznicks. While these men exercised outsized influence behind the camera and as studio heads, across the world in Bombay a quartet of Jewish women were early trailblazers in India’s film industry. In the early 20th century, the Hindu and Muslim communities of India discouraged women from appearing on the silver screen. This created an opening for aspiring actresses drawn from India’s small Jewish community, who faced no such restrictions.
In Shalom Bollywood, Danny Ben-Moshe tells the compelling tale of Jewish actresses with last names like Myers and Abraham who performed under exotic pseudonyms like Sulochana, Miss Rose, Pramila, and Nadira. Products of the Baghdadi Jewish and India’s Bene Israel communities, these women rose from obscurity to become national celebrities. Featuring interviews with descendants as well as making imaginative use of archival film footage, animation, and a true Bollywood soundtrack, Ben-Moshe highlights how these female cinematic pioneers carved their own paths in Bollywood while also retaining a deep connection to their heritage.

Budapest Noir (Director Éva Gárdos in conversation with Film Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller Budapest Noirat Castro Theatre in SF)
Saturday, July 21. 6pm. Castro Theatre.
Sunday, July 22. 6:15pm. CineArts.
Saturday, July 28. 8:45pm. Albany Twin.
Saturday, August 4. 8:40pm. Smith Rafael.

Budapest, 1936. Zsigmond Gordon is a crime reporter cut from classic film noir cloth. He takes a cynical view of politics, including the sudden death of the Hungarian prime minister, whose fondness for Adolph Hitler has inspired Hungary's fascists. It's a chance meeting with an alluring woman, however, that really triggers Gordon's curiosity, especially when she later turns up murdered, a Jewish prayer her only possession. Sniffing a human interest story (he's more ambitious than altruistic), Gordon sets out to learn her identity and transform her death from back-page filler to front-page news.
Adapted by Éva Gárdos and András Szekér from the popular Hungarian bestseller by Vilmos Kondor, Budapest Noir exploits the echoes of classic hardboiled detective fiction to probe the specifics of Hungarian national identity and tells a timeless tale of soul corruption. Visually, the film is sumptuous and shadowy. The stunning cinematography of Elemer Ragalyi (1945, SFJFF 2017) revels in the old world elegance of Buda and the oppressive squalor of Pest, weaving from the sinfully decadent salons of high society through the shameful misery of homeless encampments. Éva Gárdos (American Rhapsody, 2001) directs with a deft hand and a supple control that seamlessly blends traditional noir tropes into a politically charged period piece with a contemporary resonance that can't be missed.

Relevant Tags

Blue Note (7), Jews (7), Jewish (2), Judaism (1), Bay Area (31), Film (164), San Francisco (329), Sfjff (2), San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (4), Silent Film (30), Sammy Davis Jr. (2), Bollywood (11), Noir (8)