Racial conflicts and Human Traffic kick off the NYJFF 2018 at Lincoln Center


Roger Costa- Presented by The Jewish Museum and Film Society of Lincoln Center, the 27th annual New York Jewish Film Festival will highlight the Jewish culture and experience from many parts of the globe, including the USA, Argentina and Italy, from January 10 thru 23. Featuring exciting new works that depict among other issues, racial conflicts and human trafficking as well as journeys from the past, the line-up range from comedies, dramas, documentaries, to shorts and revivals. Here are 5 not-to-be-missed films, screening during the festival’s first week.


An accurate, heartbreaking look at the history of sexual violence, prostitution and human trafficking in Buenos Aires.  Daniel Najenson’s alarming doc is centered on the trips made by wealthy men to buy Jewish girls and turn them into sex-slaves on the city’s bohemian, openly perverse and lucrative business. It also follows the struggles and tragic memories of an activist, fighting for women’s rights while collecting crucial revelations from the victims’ relatives and family members, creating a richly emotional statement on the violation of human rights and values. (Screens Tuesday, January 16 at 1:15pm and 6:30pm. Director in person.)


Director Sam Pollard’s fascinating documentary, paints a revelatory portrait of American culture, examining controversial elements of discrimination, racial and religious conflicts through the electrifying life and career of one of the greatest entertainers of all time, the multi-talented singer, dancer, comedian and actor Sammy Davis Jr. Spanning his life from his very first moment on stage through his ascension into stardom and tumultuous relationships, Oscar nominee Pollard (who was a constant collaborator to Spike Lee) conceives a powerful and absorbing look on the perpetual issue of color and belief. (Screens Sunday, January 14 at 8:45pm. Director in person.)


Italian iconic actor Toni Servillo, known for his acclaimed dark roles, turns out to be an efficient comedian, giving a hilarious performance as an eccentric psychoanalyst going through a male crisis while splitting his apartment with ex-wife, defying the standards of his very-observant Jewish community and trying to manage his habits and attitude. Winner of the Best Comedy Award at the Golden Globes Italy, Francesco Amato’s euphoric look at family, marriage and social values is filled with great chemistry among its players and smartly funny observations on the gender-differences, provided by the hyper-active personal trainer delightfully played by Veronice Echegui. (Screens Saturday, January 13 at 7pm and Sunday, 14 at 4pm. Director in person.)


A heart-pounding and crowd-pleasing thriller based on a true story about the courageous team of lawyers led by Bram Fischer, the determined man who risked everything to defend Nelson Mandela and other Black and Jewish prisoners during the Rivonia Trial in apartheid South Africa. Told through flashbacks that showcase the talented editing and accurate re-creation of the turbulent period and historical facts, writer-director Jean van de Velde’s fast-paced intense portrait of violence, torture and political crimes is an outstanding and refreshing take on the courtroom genre. (Screens Monday, January 15 at 1pm and Tuesday, 16 at 3:30pm. Director in person.)


A mysterious Palestinian refugee handyman arrives at the life of an Israeli actor in search of new meanings for his existence while developing a new project. As both gradually engage on an unlikely friendship of mutual respect, nets of contempt, prejudice and suspicion are surfaced all around them, as members of the community start investigating the foreigner and his expectations. Prolific actor/writer/director Tzahi Grad is superb as the anxious middle-aged man, while Ala Dakka as the immigrant Fahed, creates a fascinating, ambiguous interpretation of an unsettled man exploring forbidden lands and uncertain opportunity. A warm comedy about the conflicts of identity. (Screens Tuesday, January 16 at 8:45pm and Wednesday, 17 at 6pm. Director in person.)

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