June 2012, arsenal cinema

18. Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Potsdam

LET MY PEOPLE GO!, 2011

Conflicts and comedies, memoirs and visions – there are myriad ways of filming Jewish life, as shown by the program of the 18. Jewish Film Festival which has finally come of age. Fittingly for such an occasion, the festival is particularly comprehensive this year: 30 films, six venues, a plethora of guests – please see the calendar.

MENDELSOHN'S INCESSANT VISIONS (Duki Dror, IL 2011, 7.6.) The Einstein Tower and the Schaubühne testify to the talent of the architect Erich Mendelsohn, whose revolutionary creations and turbulent life the director Duki Dror reveals in his impressive portrait.

DAVID  (Joel Fendelman, USA 2010, 7.6.) Daud, a Muslim boy, just wants to bring back a prayer book to the synagogue. However, his intentions are misunderstood and he is enlisted to take part in religious classes. A double life between two orthodox worlds ensues.

SIX MILLION AND ONE (David Fisher, IL/D/A 2011, 8.6.) David Fisher and his siblings set out to retrace the life of their deceased father, the survivor of an Austrian forced labor camp. The brothers and sisters are tested by their efforts to come to terms with their father's experiences.

DUSK(Alon Zingman, Israel 2010, 8.6.) Short Cuts in Israel: The lives of various people come together in a hospital. Interaction leads to confrontation. This is an unsparing depiction of Israeli society in miniature.

MY AUSTRALIA (Ami Drozd, IL/PL 2011, 9.6.) Post-war Poland. Tadek thinks anti-Semitism is perfectly normal – until he finds out he is Jewish. After emigrating to Israel, he attempts to find a balance between adapting and searching for identity. A humorous debut that breaks down clichés. CATHERINE THE GREAT(Anna Kuntsman, IL 2011, 9.6.) will be shown before the feature length film.

LIFE IN STILLS (Tamar Tal, IL 2011, 9.6.) Miriam Weissenstein's "The Photohouse" is the oldest photography store in Tel Aviv. It is also the setting for a story that perfectly symbolizes Israel's history. Tamar Tal documents the fight between a grandmother and her grandson for the store, as well as her struggle to cope with their devastating family history. MUSIC MAN MURRA (Richard Parks, USA 2012, 9.6.) will be shown before the feature length film.

LE CHAT DU RABBIN (The Rabbi's Cat, Joann Sfar, F 2011, 10.6.) This is an irreverent and amusing film version of the French graphic novel about a rabbi's speaking cat and his long debates about religion and everything else under the sun with his master.

JEALOUS OF THE BIRDS (Jordan Bahat, USA 2011, 10.6.) How could survivors of the Shoah have chosen to remain in Germany after 1945? There are various answers, some pragmatic, others shocking. The film gives an insight into the inner lives of many survivors and their children.

FOOTNOTE (Joseph Cedar, IL 2011, 10.6.) is about the clash of generations within the academic environment. Different approaches to research, ethics and scholarship, vanity and narrow-mindedness form the background to a father-son conflict that inevitably comes to a head.

PORTRAIT OF WALLY (Andrew Shea, USA / A 2011, 11.6.) is a documentary thriller about a spectacular legal dispute. For over 10 years, Egon Schiele's painting "Wally" was the object of a row between the Austrian government and the original owners from whom it was confiscated in 1939.

DIE WOHNUNG  (Arnon Goldfinger, IL / D 2011, 11.6.) While clearing out his grandmother's house, Goldfinger stumbles on a family secret – the friendship between his grandparents who fled Germany and an SS officer and his family.

AMEER GOT HIS GUN (Naomi Levari, IL 2011, 12.6.) An Arab Israeli who has volunteered for military service leads a life between acceptance and racism. He meets resistance both from his community and the army. MIT MUSLIMISCHEN JUGENDLICHEN ISRAEL BEREISEN (Markus Reichert, D 2010, 12.6.) will be shown before the feature length film.

LIFE? OR THEATRE?(Franz Weisz, NL 2011, 12.6.) In a mosaic-like collage, Weisz summarizes the life of the artist Charlotte Salomon.

HOW TO RE-ESTABLISH A VODKA EMPIRE (Daniel Edelstyn, GB 2011, 13.6.) narrates the kaleidoscopic journey of an Irish director to his Ukrainian roots and into the heart of the Russian Revolution.

RESTORATION (Joseph Madmoni, IL 2011, 13.6.) Old furniture or modern buildings? An elderly furniture restorer fights about the future of his workshop with his son, a real estate agent.

JASCHA HEIFETZ: GOD'S FIDDLER (Peter Rosen, USA /RUS 2011, 14.6.) Jascha Heifetz's amateur films were full of wit but in his pursuit of absolute perfection, the star often came across as rather cool. Employing interviews and archive material, Rosen depicts the musician's unsettled life.

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman, USA 2011, 14.6.) The screening of Simone Bitton's Film Rachel triggered angry protests in the US. In their film, Snitow and Kaufman scrutinize the propaganda-like fervor and the calls for the film's banning and censorship.

LET MY PEOPLE GO!(Mikael Buch, F 2011, 15.6.) Grudgingly, with a broken heart and the reputation of a thief, Ruben returns from his self-imposed exile in Finland to Paris. His problems – in the form of his family – are only just beginning.

TALIYA.DATE.COM (Taliya Finkel, IL 2011, 15.6.) Finkel takes part in a self-experiment and enters the world of Internet dating. It seems like a high price to pay – 40 dates with largely dubious specimens of Israel's male population.THE HONEYMOON SUITE (Sam Leifer, GB 2010, 15.6.) will be shown before the feature length film.

LE FILS DE L'AUTRE (The Other Son, Lorranie Lévy, F 2012, 16.6.) is an unsentimental family drama about two children who were switched at birth and grew up on opposing sides of the political conflict. When the mistake comes to light, all those involved have to reexamine their views to the decade-long hostility. SCHEHERAZADE AND THE KOSHER DELIGHT(Agnès Caffin, F 2010, 16.6.) will be shown before the feature length film.

STEPHEN FRY: WAGNER AND ME (Patrick McGrady, GB 2010, 16.6.) Stephen Fry outs himself as a Wagner fan and – torn between repulsion and respect for the composer – tries to figure out where his fascination lies.

Supported by the Lotto Foundation, the state of Brandenburg, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the German Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the German Press and Information Office. A Welser 25 e.V event.