Editors' pick

Washington Jewish Film Festival


Editorial Review

A star and more hit District festival
By Stephanie Merry
Friday, January 4, 2013

The 23rd annual Washington Jewish Film Festival is underway, bringing 55 films, not to mention Academy Award nominee Elliott Gould, to the Washington area. The movies hail from 15 countries and cover a variety of topics, from Woody Allen obsessions and Andy Warhol’s Factory scene to a lively nonagenarian trying to save a business. Here are the basics on what to expect and which shows to catch.

Don’t miss: This year’s big-name visitor is Gould, who will speak before and after a screening of Dorfman,” a film in which he stars. Before the showing, Gould will chat with documentarian and White House videographer Arun Chaudhary, and later he will discuss “Dorfman” with Wendy Kout, who penned the romantic comedy about a 20-something woman trading the comforts of suburbia for the welcome chaos of downtown Los Angeles. 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Avalon, 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW. $20.

Other highlights: The captivating Melanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Beginners”) stars in the French film “The Day I Saw Your Heart,” about a father trying to build a relationship with his grown daughter.

A screening of “Paris Manhattan,” about a woman who puts Woody Allen on a pedestal as her male ideal, kicked off the festival Thursday, but you can still catch it Wednesday at AFI.

The documentary “Life in Stills” won the Israeli equivalent of an Academy Award for its look at 96-year-old Miriam Weissenstein and her grandson as they try to save the Photo House -- a museum of sorts whose 1 million negatives document Israel’s most important moments.

Argentine writer-director Daniel Burman took home the best screenplay award at the Tribeca Film Festival for “All In,” about a recently divorced man whose plans for a vasectomy are upended when he runs into an old flame.

The Australian film “Lore,” written and directed by Cate Shortland (“Somersault”), has made a splash on the festival circuit in London, Stockholm, Sydney and Hamburg. The drama follows five children left on their own when their Nazi parents are arrested after World War II.

Music archivist Bill Shelley pieced together rare clips for a boisterous peek inside the Factory with “Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground, Nico, Andy Warhol and the Sounds of Dissent.”

The festival’s annual Visionary Award is going to Noemi and Katriel Schory, whose films will be shown on consecutive nights. On Monday, there will be a screening of Noemi’s “Slaves of the Sword: Yitzhak Rabin,” part of a trilogy about Israeli generals. On Tuesday, filmgoers can catch Noemi’s “Born in Berlin,” a documentary about three Jewish female writers forced to leave their native Germany after the Nazis came to power.

Details: The festival runs through Jan. 13, with screenings at more than a dozen venues, including the AFI Silver in Silver Spring, the Goethe-Institut downtown and H Street’s Atlas Performing Arts Center. Tickets for most screenings are $11, although special showcases are $20 to $25. Admission to a cinematic bar crawl Sunday is $30 and includes nine short films at three bars along U Street -- Local 16, Bistro la Bonne and Tropicalia -- plus a drink at each destination. Festival passes, which exclude the bar crawl and special screenings, are available for $75, or $30 for moviegoers 30 and younger. For more information, visit www.wjff.org or call 202-777-3242.