Photos | Greenwich Entertainment / Sony Pictures Entertainment
From left: From comedy to drama, from modern-day Israel to the World War II era, from espionage to wonderful music, the Mobile Jewish Film Festival has something for everyone. “The Invisibles” (above) tells the story of four survivors living in the Nazi capital of Berlin, even after Germany infamously declared that city “free of Jews.” In “A Dog’s Way Home,” man’s best friend travels hundreds of miles to be reunited with his master.
The Mobile Jewish Film Festival is celebrating its 18th year with an incredible lineup to signify “Chai” or “Life.” In Judaism, the number 18 has special significance; the numerical value of the Hebrew letters that form the word “Chai” add up to 18.
Along with the regular series, beginning Jan. 10 and showing at various locations around the city until Jan. 27, the Mobile Area Jewish Federation will continue the Julien E. Marx Holocaust Student Film Series for more than 2,500 area students. “This partnership,” explains festival co-chair Rickie Voit, “helps students understand the roots and ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping in society.”
The festival begins Thursday, Jan. 10, at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Mobile Museum of Art with “The Invisibles,” which tells the edge-of-your-seat suspenseful story of four survivors living in the Nazi capital of Berlin, even after Germany infamously declared that city “free of Jews.” Admission to this kickoff film is free, but reservations are required.
Learn about the fascinating lives of the Sherman brothers, the Academy award-winning composers of “Mary Poppins” and many other films in “The Boys,” Jan. 13, at 3 p.m. at the Ahavas Chesed Synagogue. On Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m., experience “The Last Suit,” a drama that is an eight-time festival audience award winner, in which a retired but sharply dressed suit maker takes a train trip in search of the man who rescued him from Auschwitz.
“The Cakemaker,” showing Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center, is a tender and delicate drama about a closeted love affair in Jerusalem. “The Band’s Visit” is a 2007 film that was adapted into a Broadway musical last year, sweeping the Tony Awards. This film, which takes two sets of “enemies” and shows them as ordinary people with ordinary lives, plays Thursday, Jan. 1, at 7 p.m., also at the Laidlaw Center.
Saturday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Springhill Avenue Temple begins with a delicious deli dinner and is followed by a great comedy starring Elliott Gould. In “Humor Me,” a once-acclaimed New York playwright moves in with his widowed father in his retirement community, where he stages a senior-citizen musical.
“The Interpreter” is a gripping film about an 80-year-old translator who sets off to Vienna to find the Nazi guard he believes killed his parents. Instead, he meets the man’s own 70-year-old son and the two set off on a road trip through Slovakia. This film will be shown Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at the USA Baldwin County Performing Arts Center in Fairhope.
“A Bag of Marbles” is a heart-rending story of bravery, survival and brotherly love in which two young Jewish brothers enact an audacious plan to fend for themselves in German-occupied France. Watch it Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in lovely Bernheim Hall at the Ben May Main Library in Mobile.
The festival concludes with two documentaries. On Thursday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed Synagogue, “Inside the Mossad” will draw you into the personal account of the top-secret operations that have shaped Israel’s past. For the first time since its founding, the inner workings of the Mossad, Israel’s legendary foreign intelligence agency, are made accessible to the media, told here through the stories of a dozen former Mossad spies.
And finally, the enchanting documentary “Itzhak” will close out the festival Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. at the Springhill Avenue Temple. This film looks beyond the famous and sublime musician Itzhak Perlman to show us the polio survivor who struggled in his youth to be taken seriously as a musician, when schools saw only his disability. This warm and humorous film will be followed by a reception and mini-concert.
Visit the Mobile Area Jewish Federation website (mobilejewishfederation.org) to view trailers for all the films and purchase tickets. Tickets can also be purchased prior to each showing; prices are $8 general admission, $6 students and seniors.