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Renewing Spirituality and Setting Goals at New York Jewish Film Festival ‘22

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By Roger Costa

SIN LA HABANA

A pair of lovers, a salsa instructor and a lawyer, two youngsters moved by ambition, greed and the lack of opportunity find a way out when they plot to seduce an Iranian/Canadian tourist into their lives. Both living the pleasures of youth, they are unable to fulfill their artistic/professional goals and aspirations, as their native and beloved Habana won’t offer much of a future. Dealing with economical struggle and constantly stumbling into morally-defying situations, they manage to lure their way to Canada using his romantic potential over her. An intense and fearless drama, brilliantly depicting the immigrant condition, the struggle of Latin minorities and the clash of loneliness and uneasiness and religions (she is Jewish, he practices candomble, neither seems to tolerate each other’s), director Kaveh Nabatian’s award-winning multi-character study is a fascinating and masterly crafted tale about finding your place and soul in the competitive and treacherous contemporary world.

(Screens January 15 and 17 with director in person.)

A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF

Inventive and political accurate this hybrid of musical, documentary and comedy is an efficient experimental work helmed by Alicia J. Rose. An artist arrives at an empty office building on Wall Street and gets to spend one year there for free. She uses the space and time to create her art and perform it, as well as to explore her perspective on fraud and the scandals involving Bernie Madoff. Obsessed with him and the tragedies he caused, she amusingly plays various characters through a series of cynical segments reflecting on the socio-political transformations that came along with the 2008 crisis. Artist/poet Alicia Jo Rabins delivers a finely acted piece of irreverence in this nostalgic, mystical and smart satire. An authentic and accessible Avant-garde-like epic for our financially upended times.

(Screens January 17 with director, actress and special guests in person.)

GROSSMAN

Director Adi Arbel follows the renowned and award-winning Israeli author and activist David Grossman, whose writings have been translated for more than 45 languages and earned him prestigious awards, as he meets up with associates, friends, and translators and talks about relevant topics of existentialism, presenting a life-affirming and touching reflection on humanitarian values and commitment. When his 20-year-old son was killed during the Lebanon war it ignited on him a much higher urgency on his personal battle for a violence-free world. An inspiring and deeply personal look at an incredible activist force.

(Screens January 18.)

(The 31st New York Jewish Film Festival is presented by The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center with screenings in person and also available virtually. The Festival runs January 12-25 2022. Go to www.NYJFF.org for details.)


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