It’s one big happy family…calamity, when the British comedy Reuniting the Rubinsopens the 15th CAJE Miami Jewish Film Festival on Saturday, January 21st at the Intracoastal Cinema. An up-tight lawyer, Lenny Rubins, (Timothy Spall – The King’s Speech), has to put his dream retirement on hold when his ailing mother (Honor Blackman – Goldfinger) emotionally blackmails him into reuniting his estranged children for a Jewish holiday. The nine-day event, Jan. 21 – 29th, features award-winning international films with intense dramas, thought-provoking documentaries, and heart-warming tales that range from exposing family truths, embracing one’s heritage to discovering love in all the wrong places.
Films are screened around Miami Dade, including Miami Beach and Coral Gables, with the opening night event and the closing weekend at the Intracoastal Cinema. Some of the films to be shown include:
In Another Lifetime filmed by award-winning cinematographer Jean-Claude Larrieu, is a story of compassion and strength in one of humanity’s darkest hours. Set at the end of WWII, Hungarian Jewish prisoners on a forced march to Mauthausen, become stranded in an Austrian farming village and are hidden in a barn. One of the captives is a Budapest opera singer who rehearses an operetta. The music brings hope to the exhausted prisoners and touches a farmer and his wife, numbed by their soldier son’s death.
To her father and brother, Deb Dorfman fits their needs perfectly. She is single, disheveled and lives at home in the suburbs, cares for her widowed father (Elliott Gould), and works as an accountant at her brother’s agency where she serves as his workhorse, confidante and scapegoat. Socially inept, she daydreams of her perfect man. When he comes into her life and invites her to stay at his downtown LA loft and housesit for his cat, she enters a enter a whole new world that includes a caring artist (Haaz Sleiman,“The Visitor”). Dorfman was the winner of Best Feature Hollywood Film Festival. Special Guests: Film writer Wendy Kout and Producer Len Hill.
A Jewish Girl in Shanghai is an animated film from China, and is a stunning adaptation of the groundbreaking graphic novel by Wu Lin.
After the Nazis take their mother away, Rina and her younger brother courageously flee from Austria to “Little Vienna,” a neighborhood in Shanghai where about 30,000 Jews took refuge during World War II. While they wait for their parents to join them, the children find food with the help of a Chinese merchant, and despite the huge culture gap, they form strong bonds of friendship. Recommended for ages 10+: Some images of war violence and negative depictions Nazis and Japanese. Adult Language.
The Florida Premiere of Welcome to Kutshers brings back memories for those who knew the Kutsher’s Country Club, the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills.
One of the legendary Borscht Belt hotels during its heyday, Kutsher’s has been family-owned and operated for over 100 years. Exploring the full Dirty Dancing-era Catskills experience— and how it changed American pop culture in the comedy, sports and vacation industries— this documentary captures a last glimpse of a lost world as it disappears before our eyes.
The festival closes with the award-wining Israeli film Mabul, directed by Guy Nattiv, and tells a heart-wrenching story of a dysfunctional family with a special needs child. As Yoni is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, his autistic older brother Tomer (Michael Moshonov, Bena, 2010 Festival) unexpectedly returns home, forcing the entire family to cope with his presence. Their mother (Ronit Elkabetz, The Band’s Visit, Jaffa) is a gifted day care director in a troubled marriage to a crop duster too stoned to fly (Tzahi Grad, The Loners, Eli & Ben). One of the best Israeli films of the year” Screen Daily Best Film, Best Cinematography, Haifa International Film Festival; 6 Ophir (Israeli Academy Award) nominations; Generation K plus – Best Feature Film, Berlin International Film Festival.
Tickets for the CAJE Miami Jewish Film, except for opening and closing nights, are $11 General admission; $9 seniors /students; $7 Film Society members. A $136 Fast Pass provides entry into all films. Film Society members receive discounts on tickets and fast passes and advance festival ordering. For Film Society Memberships, order on line at www.miamijewishfilmfestival.com.
For complete movie listings and to purchase tickets log on to www.miamijewishfilmfestival.com or call 1-888-585- FILM (after Jan. 6, 2012).