Films explore Jewish history, identity

Festival: Actress Celeste Holm will attend screening of `Gentleman's Agreement.'

April 02, 1999|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

Jewish experience, identity and history are explored in the 11th edition of the Jewish Film Festival, which begins tomorrow at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills.

"Women," Moshe Mizrahi's 1995 film about Sephardic Jews living in Jerusalem in the 19th century, will be the opening-night movie. The story of the devout wife of a rabbi whose inability to conceive a child results in the ultimate sacrifice, "Women" will be introduced by Harold Levin of Baltimore City Community College.

The Argentine film "Autumn Sun," which stars Norma Aleandro in an award-winning performance as a middle-aged woman looking for a Jewish companion, will be shown Sunday.

Next weekend's program will feature "For My Baby," Dutch director Rudolf van den Berg's psychological drama. Alan Cumming stars as a modern-day comic who is haunted by memories of his sister, who died in the Holocaust. "The Comedian Harmonists," a documentary about Europe's most popular pre-war singing group, will be shown on April 11.

Not to be missed is "My Knees Were Jumping," Melissa Hacker's moving documentary about the kindertransports of 1938 and 1939, wherein thousands of children from Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia were rescued from certain doom and taken to England. Combining archival material and present-day interviews with the kindertransport children, including her own mother, Hacker presents an indelible portrait of sacrifice, survival and loss. "My Knees Were Jumping" will be shown on April 13.

The Jewish Film Festival will conclude April 27 with a screening of Elia Kazan's "Gentleman's Agreement," which was recently voted one of the "Top Ten Films of Jewish Interest" in Baltimore. Celeste Holm, who co-starred with Gregory Peck in the movie, will be at the screening.

All films will be shown on the big screen at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills. Parental discretion is advised for most films. For more information, call Claudine Davison at 410-542-4900, Ext. 239.

Pub Date: 4/02/99

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