The 30th Jewish Film Festival

I didn’t know San Francisco has the distinction of being the first Jewish Film Festival in the US.  What I do know is that pulling into the Castro and seeing the normal assortment of residents and their pooches mixed with tzittzit, kippot, and bagel and lox spreads was quite the humorous sight.  I know there are Jews who are gay, hell, I even know there’s a synagogue that caters to the LGBT community in San Francisco.  I’m used to gay neighborhoods, and I’m used to Jewish neighborhoods.  I’m just not used to Jewish-gay neighborhoods.

I saw three movies on Saturday.  Te Extraño from Argentina was another film about the Dirty War.  If you haven’t seen previous films on the subject, I recommend it.  And while I realize the production of these films can be therapeutic, I have to wonder if Argentina is moving on from this epoch, healing, and working to build the institutions that will prevent it from reoccurring.  I know my year there in 2006 would tell me yes, but I do not understand why the film industry seems to be lagging a year or two behind.  I didn’t connect to these characters as well because I found the protagonist immature, the older brother naively idealistic, the grandmother annoying in her favoritism, and the mother too much like a door mat.

Ilusiones Ópticas was from Chile, and was much better than I had anticipated it to be.  You almost have to see it twice to catch everything–while the director has the characters in the foreground moving along the plot, you’re missing hilarious scenes in the background.  I liked how the various subplots came together in the end; though I wish the connection between the characters had been a bit stronger.  The ending was way too vague as well, but perhaps that was the intent given the message.

Saviors of the Night is your stereotypical “Christians helped save some Jews” during World War II.  Interesting, but highly predictable.

The festival runs for two more weeks, and I hope to put my pass to good use.


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