Marwil 10, Israel @ 60
A banner year for the JCC film festival.
Special to the Jewish News
he smell of popcorn, a lush maroon
carpet, the lights and the crowds
and finally the movie — an invi-
tation to the extraordinary. Film, actress
Ingrid Bergman said, is the only art that goes
"straight to our emotions, deep into the twi-
light of the soul" where its visions linger, like
the scent of sweet gardenia.
Or maybe you've seen something that makes
you feel just rotten, which would make Woody
Allen really happy.
"If my films make one more person miserable
the director said, "I'll feel I have done my job."
Whatever you're looking for in a movie, the
Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit's Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival
has something to offer. But with 44 films
showing — almost one-third of them Israeli
films in a salute to Israel's 60th anniversary
— where to start?
More than 125 volunteers and staff put
together the film festival; in honor of its 10th
anniversary, 10 of them pick their favorites.
Out Of Sight
Recommended by Daniel Bates, volunteer; and
Eric Lumberg festival associate chair, Metro
Bates: "What do children experience in a
normal Jewish family? Easy answer: parents
who love them, education, music and the
arts, connection to community, celebration of
traditions. These are among the strong cul-
tural traits that define us as Jews.
"In Out Of Sight, Yaara, a blind Israeli
graduate student, is shocked that her
cousin and best friend, Talia, has committed
suicide. Yaara investigates and discovers the
underlying reason for the suppressed self-
hatred that led to Talia's death. Talia was silent,
and her family was blind to what was happen-
ing to her. That child abuse could occur in a
seemingly 'normal' Jewish family is disturbing.
"Out Of Sight reminds us that protecting the
status quo while failing to acknowledge and
confront abuse leads to shattered lives"
Lumberg: "Out of Sight tells the story of two
lifelong friends growing up in Israel. When
one commits suicide, the other, who happens
to be blind, embarks on a journey that reveals
lies, secrets and gaps in their friendship.
"When I first screened this movie, I knew
instantly that it needed to be included in the
festival. Like a great American independent
movie, Out of Sight uses a superb story and
acting to engage the audience and solve the
mystery in this powerful film. Out of Sight won
two Israeli Oscars and is a 'don't-miss' movie"
Recommended by Frannie Shepherd-Bates, film
"A boy, his mother and the kibbutz on which
they live: a tagline that may, at first glance,
sound idyllic. But this film is far from that.
"As layer upon layer of Dvir's relationship
with his mother, and their relationship with the
kibbutz, is peeled away, it becomes increasingly
difficult to watch this astounding Israeli film.
"The atmosphere darkens and it becomes
less and less likely that this boy will find the
comfort and stability that every child needs,
and which the kibbutz system in 1970s Israel
purported to provide. At the film's end, though,
it appears that there is hope for Dvir, though
he must leave behind nearly everything he
knows to find it. Beautiful cinematography,
fabulous acting and a thought-provoking story
make this film a standout in this year's film
Recommended by Sandy Hyman, festival associ-
ate chair, Metro Detroit; Jeannette Saquet, volun-
teer; and Elizabeth Pernick, festival chair
Hyman: "As a retired clinical social worker
with a particular interest in family dynamics,
one of my favorite films was Brother's Shadow,
which focuses on identical twin brothers who
are opposites in every way. They do have one
commonality: the fine art of woodworking,
which they both learned from their father.
"The film begins with Jake being released
from prison to work at an Alaskan fish-pro-
cessing plant. When this doesn't work out, he
returns to Brooklyn under the sponsorship of
his brother, Mike. When Jake gets to Brooklyn,
though, he learns that Mike has died. After 14
years with no communication, Jake is not wel-
comed in his family's midst.
"Jake tries to show his skill at woodwork-
ing, and eventually he reconnects with Emily,
his brother's widow, and his nephew, Adam
— connections that are both heartwarming
Saquet and Pernick: "Jake and Mike Groden
Marwill ® 10, Israel ® 60 on page C8