Germany's largest Jewish film festival celebrates 'No Fake Jews'
The Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Brandenburg kicks off on Tuesday under the motto "No Fake Jews." Its varied program aims to depict Jewish life, expose anti-Semitism and explore the past.
With screenings of 42 features, documentaries, series and shorts, the 24th annual festival, held from June 26 through July 5, is Germany's largest forum for Israeli and Jewish films.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel, the festival features works depicting the country and its contradictions in a way that goes beyond news headlines and stereotypes, according to the festival's organizers.
The festival opens on Tuesday with the documentary Itzhak, a portrait of the famous Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman.
Grief, love, disobedience and strong women
One of the highlights of the program is the screening of Foxtrot, winner of the Silver Lion prize at the 2017 Venice Film Festival.
Director Samuel Maoz focuses on the topic of grief, among others, by telling the story of a couple who are informed that their son, an Israeli soldier, was killed in action.
The film also criticizes the Israeli state and was strongly condemned by some of the country's politicians. Minister of Culture Miri Regev even said such films "stained Israel's reputation" and should not receive funding.
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Also screened during the festival, the 12-part series Your Honor offers insight into some of the latest works coming out of Israel.
It revolves around judge Micah Alkoby, whose son flees after committing a crime. Shortly before handing him over to the police, he sees on television that his son's victim belongs to a ruthless family of gangsters. Fear for retaliation drives Alkoby into a spiral of desperate acts.
Another festival highlight is the documentary film Bombshell: The Story of Hedy Lamarr, which addresses gender equality.
It tells the story of Viennese Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr who, along with a friend, developed a technology to fight the Nazis that's now used in Bluetooth; she did not receive credit for her invention.Jochen Kürten (sh)