The Children of Chance (Festival Opening Event)
In the tender coming-of-age drama The Children of Chance, a Jewish boy finds friendship, camaraderie and safety in the shelter of a children’s hospital in Nazi-occupied France.
In a lucky misfortune, young Maurice Gutman (Matteo Perez) narrowly escapes a round-up of Jews in Paris, after breaking his leg in a dust-up with bullies. Whisked away in an ambulance, he is forced to watch helplessly as his family is arrested by French police. While treated for his injury, Maurice is diagnosed with tuberculosis and committed to a long-term treatment facility in the suburb of Garches. There, isolated from the outside world and sheltered from German occupying forces, he forms a close bond with the other boys of the ward. As the war intensifies, the sympathetic chief physician (César-winner Philippe Torreton) and his hospital staff must resort to drastic measures to keep the Jewish patients safe from Nazi patrols.
Winner of the European Children’s Film Association award and based on a true story, The Children of Chance is a testament to the resilience and bravery of youth, as captured in the charming, naturalistic performances of its young ensemble cast.
RUNNING TIME: 100 MINUTES
LANGUAGE: FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
The Midnight Orchestra
In 1974, the celebrated musician Marcel Botbol suddenly left his native land of Morocco under mysterious circumstances.
His disappearance led to the breakup of his beloved band, The Midnight Orchestra.
Thirty years later, Marcel’s son, Michael, is summoned to Casablanca by his father. Unfortunately, their reunion is short-lived as Marcel dies shortly after arriving. Michael wants to bury his father in Israel, but soon realizes his father’s close connection to Casablanca. At the news of Marcel’s passing, a large number of Moroccans are overcome with grief. Stunned, Michael sets out on a journey to find the musicians who performed with his father and thus rediscover his own identity.
RUNNING TIME: 102 MINUTES
GENRE: COMEDY, DRAMA
LANGUAGE: ARABIC, FRENCH, ENGLISH (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
An Act of Defiance
In this riveting historical drama, 10 political activists (including Nelson Mandela and his inner circle of Black and Jewish supporters) face a possible death sentence for conspiracy to commit sabotage after they are arrested by the apartheid South African government during a raid in the town of Rivonia during the summer of 1963. Bram Fischer, a sympathetic lawyer, risks his career and freedom to defend these men.
With An Act of Defiance, Dutch filmmaker Jean van de Velde (The Silent Army) captures a dark period in South Africa’s recent history, skillfully balancing a nail-biting political thriller with spectacular courtroom intrigue while paying tribute to the legendary figures who fought to end segregation and corruption in their country.
RUNNING TIME: 123 MINUTES
GENRE: Political Thriller
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / AFRIKAANS
Sammy Davis Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.
Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert.
RUNNING TIME: 100 MINUTES
In partnership with The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission.
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A riveting World War II thriller, The Exception follows German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) as he goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in The Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the country’s authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser. As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke (Lily James), one of the Kaiser’s maids whom Brandt soon discovers is secretly Jewish.
Brandt is forced to make the ultimate choice between honoring his country and following his heart.
This film contains sex and nudity.
RUNNING TIME: 107 MINUTES
This uplifting tale of unvanquished hope is set immediately after World War II. Miklos, a 25 year-old Hungarian Jewish man, is recuperating in a Swedish hospital. Although the doctors are pessimistic about his chances for recovery, he refuses to give up his dream of starting a new life and writes to 117 Hungarian girls who are also recovering from the war. One of them is 19 year-old Lili, who likes Miklos’ letter and starts corresponding with him. Based on the true story of writer/director Peter Gardos’ parents.
This film contains sex and nudity.
RUNNING TIME: 114 MINUTES
LANGUAGE: HUNGARIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
This film is in partnership with Memphis Friends of Israel and will feature a demo by Israeli chef, Abe Haak during the dinner.
In Hummus! The Movie, we meet three main characters – a hard working Muslim woman, an ever smiling Jew, and a young Christian Arab on a restless quest for meaning. Despite their differences, they all have one thing in common… a passionate love of hummus! We also accompany a French Benedictine Monk on his search for the ultimate, tastiest hummus, and Aluf Abir, a hip hop musician/6th Dan black belt, who has some wacky views on the geopolitical power of chickpeas.
RUNNING TIME: 72 MINUTES
COUNTRY: USA, ISRAEL
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH, ARABIC, HEBREW (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski—great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor—runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, Big Sonia also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.
RUNNING TIME: 93 MINUTES
Monsieur Mayonnaise is an artist’s epic adventure into his family’s secret past. Australian artist and film-maker, Philippe Mora, investigates his father’s clandestine role in the French Résistance in WW2 and his mother’s miraculous escape enroute to Auschwitz. Philippe, a Hollywood cult-horror movie director and pop-artist, adopts a Film Noir persona to tell his family’s story. He also packs his paints and easel, as he embarks on a journey to create an audacious comic book about his parents, their survival and the Holocaust. From LA to Berlin, Paris to Melbourne, Monsieur Mayonnaise is a richly layered, road movie starring artists, real life heroes, Nazi villains … and baguettes with lashings of tasty French mayonnaise!
Special Thanks to Linda Pelts.
RUNNING TIME: 94 MINUTES
COUNTRY: AUSTRALIA, GERMANY, FRANCE, USA
In partnership with Indie Memphis.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The MJCC’s International Jewish Film Festival is named in memory of Morris and Mollye Fogelman, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Wendy and Avron Fogelman.
“The MJCC is thrilled that the Fogelmans are sponsoring the annual International Jewish Film Festival and honoring the memory of Avron’s parents in this way. Morris Fogelman was the 6th president of our MJCC from 1959–1961 and was instrumental in the purchase of the land and subsequent development of our current MJCC campus.”
—Larry Skolnick, MJCC President and CEO
MJCC FILM FESTIVAL COMMITTEE
Jeri Moskovitz • Janice Ringel • Betsy Saslawsky
Hallie Charney • Tova Cooper • Janis Finan • Karen Franklin • Lisa Frisch
Sandy Goldstein • Mimi Grossman • Jackie Mandell • Jill Notowich • Allison Parker
Wendy Thomas • Joy Wilk
PASSPORT TO DISCOVERY PATRONS 2017 (as of 12/12/17)
Eileen and Pace Cooper • Tami and Bob Eiseman
Janis and Pat Finan • Sandy Goldstein • Sharon and Mike Goldstein • Mimi Grossman • Eileen Posner
Debra and Alex Saharovich • Laurie and Elkan Scheidt • Jill and Ken Steinberg • Wendy and Morris Thomas
Cathy and Craig Weiss
SPECIAL THANKS TO
JEWISH COMMUNITY PARTNERS • UNITED WAY OF THE MID-SOUTH
THE MEMPHIS AND SHELBY COUNTY FILM AND TELEVISION COMMISSION • INDIE MEMPHIS • FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES • MEMPHIS FRIENDS OF ISRAEL