Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Dream of Zorro (1952) aka Sign of Zorro

Hands down this is the worst Zorro film I've run across. This Italian monstrosity should be burned where ever it is found.

The grandson of  Zorro is an infantile nudnick who plays triangle in an orchestra. Having so sense of the world he dresses like an over grown child.  Brought home by his grandfather who wants to have him become Zorro. Cringe worthy  things happen.

Bad all around action comedy has horrible jokes, embarrassing performances and weak action sequences. While definitely not helped by a dubbing that gives the young Zorro an effeminate voice the poorly done physical jokes and worse verbal ones just make this film nigh unwatchable.

I will be haunted by our hero's childish dress for years to come. The over done hat and the rest of the costume is the sort of thing you have to see to disbelieve.

I hate this film a great deal.

If you ever run across you'll know you've reached cinematic hell

Bloody Bits Shorts Showcase Part 1 BLOOD IN THE SNOW FILM FESTIVAL 2018

The two collections of shorts at Blood in the Snow are really good. Its rare that you get one shorts collections that are this good never mind two. While I liked some films more than others over all the films are really good, especially when grouped together.

What follows are some short takes on all of the films in the first collection. Because of the nature of the films, they all have turns in  them, the discussions are brief.

Awesome film about a woman alone taking a selfie-I can say no more- really. Just see it

Nice little film about how a woman gets revenge on the man who took advantage of her.

A cute film about kids learning to prevent frostbite. This is really amusing, but other than the tone this really doesn't belong in a horror film festival.(its much too cute)

An elf has to deliver a piece of coal to a kid on the naughty list or face Santa's wreath- the thing is the kid is really bad. Good little film

A woman's best friend comes over to visit-only it may not really be her best friend. Creepy chiller succeeds even if you suspect where it maybe going because it simply creates so much mood you can't help be be on edge.

As a man begins to work on his vacation home before his family arrives, strange stuffed bears begin to show up.... creepy as all hell horror film would make a killer feature film, and possible start of a series because the film ill leave you wanting to know more.

A pregnant woman id visited by two visitors and given a choice... An interesting little film that is more interesting in what is trying to do than what it actually does. There is something about the way it plays out that doesn't quite put it over.

A mother keeps being interrupted by an annoying neighbor when she is trying to spend quality time with her kid. I've shortened the official synopsis because if you read it you'll know where this is going and that's a shame since not knowing makes this a nifty little poisoned confection.

While working a night shift at a remote gas station a woman hears of the escape of a dangerous animal...and I really hate this film in that I can't discuss this film other than to say its a neat little tale, but you can't know anything about it or else the magic will be gone. Seriously the trick in watching this the first time through is not to know anything. SO I will not say anything, other than just see it.

This film about a female taxidermist who picks up a hiker  vexes me. I love how it looks, I love how it plays out...I'm not sure that the pay off fits with the journey. Done get me wrong its really good, but I keep feeling it should have been more... still its worth a look.

For tickets go here

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Jonathan is in theaters and on demand

With Jonathan out in theaters here is a repost of Joe Bendel's review from Tribeca.

They are like the Corsican Brothers, but more symbiotic—and weirdly codependent. They do just share a flat and some DNA, they cohabitate in the same body. Each gets his own shift from 7:00 to 3:00. If you question the sustainability of this arrangement, your skepticism will be validated in Bill Oliver’s Jonathan, which has select theaters and On Demand services.

Jonathan is the tidy and responsible one, who gets the day shift. John is the sloppy but social one, who lives by night. Obviously, they can never be present together, but at the end of each shift they leave each other video messages, recapping their interactions with people, so they will not be caught flatfooted during their shifts. However, John has been out of sorts ever since Jonathan read him the riot act about pursuing a long-term relationship with Elena, a pretty young waitress completely unaware of their condition.

Much to Jonathan’s alarm, John stops leaving messages. He is even more concerned when he discovers their doctor and surrogate mother, Dr. Mina Nariman has been treating John for depression. However, he really starts feeling guilty when he pursues his own relationship with Elena.

Jonathan is billed as science fiction, but the radical treatment the J-men have undergone does not feel very speculative at all. To an extent, the film plays like a more innocent cousin of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. Nevertheless, the fraternal relationship and the rules they embrace or chafe under to make their co-existence possible are intriguing and inherently dramatic. Yet, the film is never mind-blowing in the way it clearly hopes to be. Despite a few fresh wrinkles, the multiple personality subject matter is largely confined to familiar territory.

Still, Oliver’s execution is tight and stylish. He is particularly adept at conveying Jonathan’s closely guarded emotional state. Ansel Elgort and Suki Waterhouse also give career-best performances (thus far), which might sound like a bold declarative statement, but it based on an underwhelming field of films, including November Criminals, The Bad Batch, and the “Ent” franchise.

Credit is still due, especially for Elgort, who clearly delineates Jonathan, who provides our sole POV and John, seen only in video messages, without ever resorting to cheap tics or tricks. Of course, Patricia Clarkson is always reliable, but she really deepens the film with her subtle but forceful portrayal of Dr. Nariman. If anyone earns award consideration for Jonathan, it will be Clarkson, but Shunori Ramanathan should earn consideration for bigger roles for her sensitive turn as Jonathan’s concerned co-worker, Allison.

There are some obvious logical questions Oliver co-screenwriters Peter Nickowitz and Gregory Davis just hope viewers do not think to ask. Yet, there is something about the synaptic Cain and Abel relationship that resonates on a gut level. It will not stretch your mind or your consciousness, but it will get under your skin. Recommended on balance for the ensemble work, Jonathan is now out in theaters and available on demand

Altered Skin (2018) Blood in the Snow 2018

ALTERED SKIN is the outbreak/zombie movie that I’ve been waiting to see for a while but didn't know it. In a genre where we have sensationalistic monstrous killers that move like lightning and take over the world, here we have an illness that is quietly destroying lives and slowly breeding fear.

The film is about Craig Evans an American ex-pat living in Pakistan. His wife is a doctor who contracts the MN-2 virus from a patient who has a sudden violent outburst. The virus slowly takes over the patient causing madness and violent outbursts. There is a medicine that will stave off the effects but it isn’t a cure. The virus can be slowed if the victim is put into a coma which is what happens to Craig's wife. Craig is contacted by the wife of an investigative journalist who was found dead. She asks him to continue her husband’s investigation because as an American he has greater freedom than any Pakistani. He begins following the clues and discovers links to a pharmaceutical company.

Wonderfully low key and slow burn this is almost the exact opposite of your current typical outbreak/zombie film. This is a film about people trying to find out the course of a disease. We have real characters here not types. People talk to each other like real people and not in movie speak. It all feels wonderfully real. The situations are not contrived movie plotting but reasonably realistic ones.

Basically this is a thriller for adults and I loved it.

I suspect that those wanting a balls to the wall flesh ripping story are going to be disappointed. This is not that film. This is a film that is about people not effects or gore. Yes, the effects are chilling, The milky white eyes bloody ooze and distorted features we see on some of the victims is truly terrifying because it’s not over done and not constant. We see it here and there with result it breeds fear because we are not used to it. We notice any decay, or any sign of how long they have been changed and it scares us.

Mostly though this is a tale of people. Specifically it is about Craig and the people he meets. The collection of doctors, police, patients and others feel real. These are people we could meet in real life. Their lives carry weight and we can imagine them going through their paces off screen. That any film manages to give everyone seeming full live is rare, however in a horror film it’s rarer.

ALTERED SKIN is a masterpiece. It is unlike almost any other horror film you will run across. The closest film I could compare it to is the zombie film MAGGIE which is about a family dealing with one of their own turning. (I want to say Steven Soderbergh's CONTAGION but that film has isn’t as low key). It is both chilling and thoughtful.

How good is the film? I got yelled at for not turning off the film at work after lunch when I kept watching because I HAD to see how it came out. Yea. It’s that good. Its one of the best horror films I’ve seen in 2018 and certain to end up on one of my year end lists.

This is a must see when it plays Friday at The Blood in The Snow Film Festival.

Frankenstein On Campus (1970)

One of the worst films I've seen in ages is a horrible mix of Frankenstein and campus sex film.

After being thrown out of a university in Europe Victor Frankenstein travels to Canada. There he tries to fit in while working on a brain control device with one of is professors.

Long scenes of people partying are mixed with some sex scenes, moments where Victor does weird things and sequences were the students protest the use of computers on the grounds it will dehumanize the world. None of it hangs together despite the fact there are characters in common. That may sound like a no duh statement but at times the various part of this film plays like different films.

This might have been a good bad film except that how Victor Frankenstein is drawn, with a big  stick up his ass, results in a character that grates on us. We don't like him at all and it's painful to be around him. And everything he does is just WTF.

The biggest WTF - and it's the best thing in the film- is the denouncement. Its awesome, it's out of left field and it arrives just as the end credits roll.

This is a burnt turkey of a film and should be avoided.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The must see INVISIBLE HANDS opens Friday

Spanning the globe INVISIBLE HANDS shows us the cost of employing children as workers. Many are essentially slaves having been trafficked into becoming abused and poorly paid worker. Others have been sent by their parents who need the money they can earn. No matter how they end up in the work place the kid’s lives are altered almost always for the worse, thanks to the abuse hurled at them and the dangerous conditions they work in.

What most people don’t realize is just how many products either do or potentially do employ child workers in their manufacture. One of the examples they use is the listing of items with palm oil. It’s used in everything. So many products are named that you’ll be shocked that something you use could be the result of child labor. We see the products.

One of the strengths of the film is that it doesn’t shy away from naming names. Dow Chemicals is mentioned as a source of danger since often the insecticides and herbicides it manufactures but can’t sell in developed countries which are used in places with no regulation thus posing a poisoning danger to the kids who use them. Apple’s checkered history is mentioned, as is their change in corporate policy which now requires those companies caught using child labor to pay their salary until they are old enough to legally work. And Nike is singled out as being one of the good companies, taking steps to assure no children are used and safe work places.

While there are times the film can seem by the book in its telling, the sheer weight of the facts overwhelms any concerns and leaves one rocked at the end.

A vital and important film and a must see when it opens this Friday in New York and in LA next week

The Film Detective Has Solved the Case for Classic Film Lovers

ROCKPORT, Mass. — Nov. 12, 2018 — For Immediate Release — The Film Detective, a classic movie and television streaming service, announces three new partnerships, teaming up with Kit Parker Films, VCI Entertainment and Independent International Pictures (IIP) and dipping into their immense movie libraries, which will bring more than 1,000 new titles to The Film Detective.

Said Phil Hopkins, founder of The Film Detective, "The Film Detective is leading a new path during the era of the cord cutter, opening its doors to those unique genres that don’t quite have a home. With these new partnerships, The Film Detective taps further into the rich cinema history of our country and beyond and is able to significantly expand its library to satisfy the varied interests of classic cinephiles, whose movie appetites expand past the summer blockbuster toward arthouse, vintage, cult and niche programming."

Kit Parker Films, which began in 1971 as a classic film distributor for major studios, boasts hundreds of favorites from Blaxploitation to westerns to as niche as vintage pro-wrestling. Top contenders include the 1945 film A Walk in the Sun, film noirs New York Confidential (1955) and Bad Blonde (1953), as well as the 1964 western Apache Rifles.

Independent International Pictures is a film library owned by Sam Sherman, a trailblazer in independent film production and distribution, offering B-movie fans dozens of cult horrors, foreign films and grindhouse titles into which fans can sink their teeth. Favorites amongst IIP’s listing will certainly be the 1954 film Two Nights with Cleopatra, starring the seductive Sophia Loren, as well as The Flesh and the Fiends (1960), starring Peter Cushing.

VCI Entertainment, the oldest surviving home video company in the USA, possesses a library of over 5,000 titles and is the credited with creating the "made-for-video" genre. A strong supporter of independent producers and directors, VCI hosts new playlists for TFD fans to explore, from British collections and film noir to cartoons like Clutch Cargo and Space Angel.

With the partnerships already in place, The Film Detective will add dozens of new titles from each collection throughout the upcoming months, preserving a little cinematic history.

New and old audiences alike will be welcomed to The Film Detective on Dec. 1 to a roster of festive films that are sure to awaken the holiday spirit with its annual "25 Days of Christmas," hosting classic features on its app, including vintage Christmas cartoons and beloved films and shorts. Kicking off the festivities is Peter Pan (1955), a recorded version of the live NBC production filmed at the Ambassador Theater in New York, featuring the original Broadway cast. Starring the delightful Mary Martin as Peter, the production’s airdate garnered an impressive 65-million viewers, the highest ever for a single television broadcast program at the time. The second week of December sees the heart-warming 1990 film Home for Christmas with the late Mickey Rooney, who charms as ex-thief Elmer who befriends a young child in the days leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Day, fans will be eager to put down their presents and pour a cup of eggnog to catch Basil Rathbone in the rarely seen short, A Christmas Carol (1959), followed by Vincent Price’s 1949 version of the beloved Dickens story. For an extra treat, starting Christmas Eve, Sling TV subscribers can watch "25 Hours of Christmas" on The Film Detective’s channel for a whole day’s worth of classic merriment and holiday cheer.

The Film Detective is available for $3.99 per month or $34.99 per year on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and all iOS devices. The service is also available to stream for free, with ads, on all of the app platforms and online at The Film Detective is offered on Sling TV to all current Sling Orange and/or Sling Blue subscribers through the Hollywood Extras package, and streams 24/7.
About The Film Detective:
The Film Detective is a leading distributor of restored classic programming, including feature films, television, foreign imports, and documentaries. Since launching in 2014, the company has distributed its extensive library of 3000+ hours on DVD and Blu-ray and through such leading digital and television broadcast platforms as Turner Classic Movies, NBC, EPIX, Amazon, MeTV, PBS and more. In 2016, The Film Detective launched its OTT classic movie app, and in June of 2018, the company launched a 24/7 linear channel on Sling TV. Visit us online at

August Rush

You will either buy into this contrived tale of orphan who hears music then runs off New York to find his parents or you won't.I didn't.

Cloyingly cute I had no patience for it and squirmed from the opening bits of the kid conducting the wind, through the flash back meeting of young rock star dad and rich girl cellist torn apart by her disapproving dad, on to the really annoying Robin "Please put my head in a duck press to make me stop screaming" Williams and then to the oh gee ending. I hated almost every moment other than the music. Whats worse was I didn't bail when I had the chance (what would it take stand up and walk out) and stayed to the hand holding ending in the hope that it would all turn around and I'd get weepy. No such luck. Hey this might click for you, it did for several ladies in my office, but for me it was time I won't get back

hey things are looking up I have eating aluminum foil on the slate for dinner and after my bath I will be combing my hair with a rusty cheese grater

Detainment (2018)

The Oscar qualified Detainment is a punch in the face. It is a film that will leave you staring at the screen wondering how something like this could have happened.

Based on the released transcripts and public record it tells the story of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, two ten year old boys, who kidnapped toddler James Bulger from a shopping mall in England and then murdered him. The spine of the film is the police questioning of the boys, bouncing back and forth we watch as the kids at first deny everything, but then we watch as they crack and their stories begin to change. Hanging off the interviews are recreations of the kids out and about, interacting with adults they meet along the way.

This film will knot up your stomach and make you sick. Talk about the banality of evil.

Watching the kids (who give Oscar worthy performances) react to the increasing serious nature of the discussion left me shaking my head. Unlikely to be part of the discussion are the actors playing the parent who at first are supportive of the kids as they believe they know couldn’t have done anything wrong but slowly, they go numb and into shock as the enormity of the crime becomes clear. They are not showy roles, they are almost window dressing at times, but ones that hit home and hit hard.

Detainment will leave you drained. It’s an absolute must see.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Notes about this week, Blood in the Snow and December at Unseen Films

As DOC NYC winds down and Thanksgiving approaches its time to remind you that as we've done every year since we started all this week we’ll be looking at a week of cinematic turkeys. These are films that really aren’t good and just should be avoided. I know that some of you will disapprove of a couple of choices, but differing opinions is what makes a horse race.

There will be a lot of films thrown up so I’m sure you’ll find something to hate.

The cinematic turkeys will be in addition to some new releases and coverage of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival which starts Thursday.
Also with the end of DOC NYC I want to say that the flow of brand new films is going to slow. As of right now we only have a few new titles to post and one festival left to cover (Blood in The Snow) and then we are pretty much done to the new year...more or less.

Yes I will be dropping a few new release titles here and there, but in the interest of my sanity I’m taking what remains of the year and just watching the films I want to see- which means catch up. I have spent most of the last 11 months watching things sent to me or for festivals and have missed way too many things that I really wanted to see. Or as Nate Hood said to me this past Wednesday "You know Hollywood still makes films."

I know and there are a lot of those films I really want to see. This means lots of catch up reviews (especially in the second half of December) as we tally the films of 2018 for our year end lists and another go round with the Unseen Film Awards.

And regarding Blood in the Snow I've seen all of the shorts and there is some great stuff there. Go see the collections- reviews will run this Week. But don't wait go buy tickets.

I've only seen one feature as the posts- ALTERED SKIN, but I loved it's low key take on the zombie/plague genre. Its a must see.

A word of warning:while I was hoping to get to everything that has screeners available I may not get to the collection of streaming shows for review. Its not for lack of desire but time. There are a lot of shows which mean a lot of writing (which I found doing all the short films)...and its Thanksgiving week here in the US so family time is priority. It still may happen-they don't screen for a week- but I'm not sure.

Until then just buy tickets and go because it's all good.

One of 2018's best The World Before Your Feet opens Wednesday

This is the original review of THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET WHICH ran when it premiered at SXSW. I'm reposting because it begin it's theatrical run Wednesday which means you too can see it's wonders.

This is a two part review. The first part is the review as written right after seeing the film. The second part is an addendum written a week after I first saw the film

Jeremy Workman is one of the best filmmakers I've run across. He finds these wonderful off the beaten path people and makes absolutely compelling films that change the way you see the world. His latest film THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET has just premiered at SXSW and it is absolutely a charmer.

The film is a portrait of Matt Green who has been walking all of the streets of New York City for the better part of the past decade. We watch as he walks the streets, meets people, and takes pictures of what he sees. We also get to know Matt via interviews with friends, family and ex-girlfriends.

You would think that a film about a guy walking would grow tiring but it doesn't. Thank to Jeremy Workman's expertise we find ourselves falling in step with Matt and his crazy walk. Workman makes sure that we are always full engaged by thinking ahead and answering all of the questions we might have at just about the time they pop up in our heads. He's so good at providing answers to everything that despite my initial thought that I would like to do interviews concerning the film, I can not in good conscious think of more than one or two things that aren't addressed in the film.

What makes the film work is that the film isn't just about Matt and his walk but about the city and the people in it. Matt isn't just walking the city but documenting it as well on his website. Researching what he sees he details what the things he sees are on line. Within the film he details things like the movement of the Jewish communities out of neighbors as witnessed by the synagogues being turned into churches, and how the various neighborhoods deal with tragedy as witnessed in the wide variety of 911 memorials. Matt also engages everyone he meets and as a result we get a portrait of the people across the city.

What thrilled me was that watching Matt walk and listening to him explain what he's seen I've been forced to rethink how I see the world. As someone who loves to walk around New York he opened my eyes to a good many things that I always took for granted.

This film has left me speechless. I need to see this film a couple more times to fully appreciate everything that is in it.

Highly recommended.

ADDENDUM- Thoughts a week after first seeing THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET
Jeremy Workman is a genius.

Yes I’ve drunk the Kool Aid, but if you’ve been following his career since the start you’d be in line for a refill as well. No one is making films quite like his and as a result we are the better for it. His films are not one and done, “what’s next?” affairs. They are fascinating portraits of outsiders who are revealed to be not so outside.

In MAGICAL UNIVERSE he profiled Al Carbee, an artist he stumbled up during a trip and who sent him hours of video tapes. It’s a weird and wonderful portrait of guy who wonderful art with Barbies. In his short ONE TRACK MIND he profiled Philip Ashforth Coppola who is drawing all of the subway stations in New York. For anyone who has ever traveled around the city via subways it’s an eye opening experience. Coppola forces us to reevaluate what we see every day and our notions of what art is since be suddenly see the true beauty of something incredibly utilitarian. This film is currently being screened as part of a show of Coppola‘s art at the Transit Museum in New York’s Grand Central Station. I attended the show and watched as people walked through the exhibit and ended with Jeremy’s film intending to watch a little and then leave. Instead they stood watching the entire film and then went around the exhibit a second time because they had to go back and see the things they missed. (I know this because I asked and I overheard them talking)

This brings me to THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET. It has haunted me since I saw it. There is something about the film that has stayed with me. I’ve been pondering how Matt Green sees the world. Thinking endlessly about how he linked up the history of the city. Mostly I’m just wondering how much of New York I haven’t seen even in the sections of the city I know.

And I can’t stop thinking about the film.

Is it one of 2018’s best films? Oh yes.

For me a film should really at least one of two things entertain or inform. World does both. Watching Green wander the city and talk to people is a blast. It simply is fun. We have a genuine good time as we travel along with him. Additionally it tells us things we probably didn’t know. In being a curious person and needing to fill in details for his website Green has become a human encyclopedia of NYC history and we are better for it.

I can’t stop pondering what it has shown me to really think rationally about the notion of “best”. What is best any way , great cinematography? A moving story? I don’t really know. I think it would be easier to say it’s one of my favorite films of the year- which means it’s better than best since Best films are forgotten and favorite films live on forever in your heart. The World Before Your Feet is going to live on forever in my heart and referenced every time I walk New York, which makes it truly something special

Thank you Jeremy Workman for something truly special.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas (2017)

DREAMING OF A JEWISH CHRISTMAS is the Christmas special you always wanted but never realized you did. The film, up for an international Emmy on Monday, is a killer look at the classic holiday songs, most of which were written by Jewish composers. As someone said why would you write a song that only 3% of the population will sing when you could write one that 97% would.

Charting the experience of the Jewish immigrants into American society the film shows us he influence that they made in popular culture. In charting the course of the various songs (many of which are performed in glorious and unexpected ways) we see how people’s ideas of Christmas changed from a purely religious holiday to something secular. We see how the collision of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in December 1941 created the nostalgia for a past that never was (the song’s speaking of the idea of home meant so much to the soldiers fighting across the globe).

While the film is primarily about the “Jewish” Christmas the film also deals with the experiences of other minorities, particularly the Chinese. While it could be seen as stereotypical to say that Jews went to Chinese restaurants on Christmas because they were the only ones open, the fact is that Christmas was often the busiest day of the year kind of indicates there being more to the stories than we might think.

I love this film. I love that despite the title this is about all of us in one way or another.

Highly recommended.

Clyde Cooper (2018)

I was not planning on watching, let alone reviewing CLYDE COOPER.  I was in the middle of DOC NYC and I didn't have it in me chase down a screening link. Then the distributor sent me a whole bunch of links as a Halloween treat...and at a point when I never wanted to see another documentary again I sat down and gave it a shot...and damn its really good.

Set in the near future the plot is set in motion when Cooper is hired by a rich tech investor to find a certain woman. She is the love of his life and wants her back. Of course things go side ways.

Jordi Vilasuso is Cooper and he needs to make this a series. Vilasuso does a modern day up date of the hard boiled detective thing perfectly. He's tough and smart ass and always seems to be in control even when he isn't. While there are some bumps here and there in the film Vilasuso is always on target and he carries things along.

Yes, we've seen this sort of thing before but the script by director Peter Daskaloff is perfectly balanced so we don't care. Daskaloff as both writer and director knows how to lull us into going with the film and just having a good time. I enjoyed myself so much that I've been talking it up since I saw it.

Is this high art? Oh hell no but it is cinematic comfort food of the highest order.

CLYDE COOPER is recommended when it hits VOD on November 22

Friday, November 16, 2018

The dates and first films of the New York Jewish Film Festival

               THE JEWISH MUSEUM AND


               ANNOUNCE THE 28TH ANNUAL


JANUARY 9–22, 2019
Opening Night: New York Premiere of Eric Barbier’s Promise at Dawn, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Pierre Niney
Centerpiece: U.S. Premiere of Israeli miniseries Autonomies

NEW YORK, NY (November 15, 2018) – The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center will present the 28th annual New York Jewish Film Festival (NYJFF), January 9­–22, 2019. Among the oldest and most influential Jewish film festivals worldwide, the NYJFF each year presents the finestdocumentary, narrative, and short films from around the world that explore the diverse Jewish experienceFeaturing new work by fresh voices in international cinema as well as restored classics, the festival’s 2019 lineup includes over 30 wide-ranging and exciting features and shorts from the iconic to the iconoclastic, of which many will be screening in their world, U.S., and New York premieres. Screenings are held at the Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, NYC.

The complete lineup, including main slate selections and special events, will be announced in December 2018.

The NYJFF opens on Wednesday, January 9, with the New York premiere of Eric Barbier’s epic drama Promise at Dawn, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Pierre Niney. This riveting memoir chronicles the colorful life of infamous French author Romain Gary, from his childhood conning Polish high society with his mother to his years as a pilot in the Free French Air Forces. The Centerpiece selection represents the first time Israeli TV has been presented at the NYJFF with the 3½ hour miniseries Autonomies. Directed by Yehonatan Indursky, the dystopian drama is set in an alternate reality of present-day Israel, a nation divided by a wall into the secular “State of Israel,” with Tel Aviv as its capital, and the “Haredi Autonomy” in Jerusalem, run by an ultra-Orthodox religious group. A globally relevant tale of identity, religion, politics, personal freedom, and love, this gripping story follows a custody battle that upends the fragile peace of the country, pushing it to the brink of civil war.

Filmmaker Amos Gitai returns to the 2019 NYJFF with the U.S. premiere of his thought-provoking new drama, A Tramway in Jerusalem. Gitai uses the tramway that runs through Jerusalem to connect a series of short vignettes, forming a mosaic of Jewish and Arab stories embodying life in the city.

The NYJFF will also present the U.S. premiere of Fig Tree by first-time director Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian. Set in Addis Ababa during the Ethiopian Civil War, the film concerns a young woman who plans to flee to Israel with her brother and grandmother to reunite with her mother. But she is unwilling to leave her Christian boyfriend behind and hatches a scheme to save him from being drafted.

This year’s festival features an array of enlightening and gripping documentaries. Highlights include the New York premiere of Roberta Grossman’s Who Will Write Our History, which uses painstakingly compiled archival materials unearthed after World War II to tell the story of a resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation and the reality of Jewish life in occupied Warsaw; and Rubi Gat’s Dear Fredy, focusing on Fredy Hirsch, a proud and openly gay Jew in Nazi Germany and, later, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, who oversaw and protected hundreds of children in the camps by setting up a day care center.

NYJFF special programs include the New York City premiere of the new digital restoration of Ewald Andrew Dupont’s 1923 silent masterpiece, The Ancient Law, featuring a new score and live accompaniment by pianist Donald Sosin and klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals. In this classic drama the son of an orthodox rabbi leaves home, against his father’s wishes, to join a traveling theater troupe.

NYJFF ticket information and the full festival schedule will be available at in late December.

This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Rachel Chanoff, Director, THE OFFICE performing arts + film; Gabriel Grossman, Coordinator, New York Jewish Film Festival/The Jewish Museum; Miriam Niedergang, short film curatorial consultant; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum and Director, New York Jewish Film Festival; with Dennis Lim, Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center, as adviser.

The New York Jewish Film Festival is made possible by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media.

Generous support is also provided by Wendy Fisher and Dennis Goodman, Sara and Axel Schupf, The Liman Foundation, Louise and Frank Ring, an anonymous gift, the Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation, Amy and Howard Rubenstein, Robin and Danny Greenspun, Steven and Sheira Schacter, and through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council.

Additional support is provided by Office of Cultural Affairs – Consulate General of Israel in New York, the German Consulate General New York, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, and the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Located on New York City's famed Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum is a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Founded in 1904, the Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. Devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary, the Museum offers diverse exhibitions and programs, and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. For more information, visit

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTERThe Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Shutterstock, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For more information, visit and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.

Holidays at Metrograph

Throughout December
Holidays at Metrograph 

The Academy at Metrograph Screening of Scrooged
with Karen Allen and Carol Kane In-Person

Phantom Thread, Eyes Wide Shut, Carol in 35mm, and more

The Metrograph Holiday Book Fair on December 15 and 16

Opens December 7

Holidays at Metrograph
The holiday season provides the backdrop for a great many magical and mischievous films, for all sorts of adventures and romances can happen when regular work schedules don’t have to be attended to, and there’s something just plain cinematic about the twinkle of Christmas lights. With so many naughty and nice seasonal movies to choose from, we’ve made an annual tradition of showing the best, and this year we’ve heaped up plenty of seasonal goodies under our tree, from warm-and-cozy silver screen standards to modern masterworks—because chestnuts roasting on an open fire are nice, but there’s no substitute for the glow of the cinema screen.

3 Godfathers (John Ford/1948/106 mins/35mm)
The Apartment (Billy Wilder/1960/125 mins/DCP) *Extended engagement begins December 7*
Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff/2003/88 mins/DCP)
Carol (Todd Haynes/2015/118 mins/35mm)
Christmas in Connecticut (Peter Godfrey/1945/101 mins/35mm)
Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick/1999/159 mins/35mm)
Gremlins (Joe Dante/1984/106 mins/35mm)
Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli/1944/113 mins/35mm)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson/1992/85 mins/DCP) *As part of  PLAYTIME*
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson/2017/130 mins/35mm)
Remember the Night (Mitchell Leisen/1940/94 mins/35mm)
Trading Places (John Landis/1983/116 mins/35mm)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy/1964/92 mins/DCP)
December 15

Academy at Metrograph

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Continues its Residency
at Metrograph with Upcoming Winter Programming

Karen Allen and Carol Kane Present Scrooged on December 15
ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH continues in December, with upcoming programming that includesScrooged presented by actresses Karen Allen and Carol Kane on December 15.

On Saturday, December 15 at 5:00pm, actresses Karen Allen and Carol Kane will present Scrooged. An updating of A Christmas Carol for the “Greed is good” 80s, Richard Donner’s salty-sweet comic morality tale—co-written by Saturday Night Live legends Mitch Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue—stars Bill Murray as a nasty executive at IBC Television who, heartlessly keeping his underlings at work on Christmas Eve to complete a live telecast of Charles Dickens’s classic, finds himself visited by three very novel versions of three familiar ghosts.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) began a yearlong residency at Metrograph in July 2017, bringing exciting and entertaining programs to the big screen. Programs in ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH have and continue to feature onstage conversations with filmmakers and scholars of motion pictures, tributes, newsreels, rarely seen clips from past Oscar® ceremonies, and home movies from Hollywood legends.  This monthly series highlights unique archival elements, including recent restorations and film prints from the Academy Film Archive by celebrating classic moments from the Academy’s 90-year history.
December 15 & 16

The Metrograph Holiday Book Fair

Hundreds of Newly Acquired Cinema Books and Periodicals

Sara Berman's Dream Double Feature Presented by Maira and Alex Kalman

Ed Halter To Discuss Evergreen Review with Film Screening 
Metrograph’s Film Book Fair returns for the 2018 holiday season with hundreds of newly acquired vintage cinema books, out-of-print monographs, rare periodicals, and ephemera. From biographies of favorite Hollywood stars like Barbara Stanwyck, to treatises on cinema written by Éric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, this is an entirely new bounty of treasures. In addition to a gift-wrapping station, vendors will include New York Review Books, Posteritati, Light Industry, and more.

In conjunction with the Holiday Film Book Fair, Metrograph will present Sara Berman's Dream Double Feature on December 15 with Maira and Alex Kalman in-person to sign copies of Sara Berman’s Closet on December 15th, followed by a book signing. On December 16th, Ed Halter will discuss the newly editedFrom the Third Eye: The Evergreen Review Film Reader, Grove Press, and its defunct film company, Grove Films, with film screening. A table of supplemental material of Grove Press, Grove Films, and the Evergreen Review will be available for purchase during the Holiday Book Fair.

In addition, a members/press preview of the Metrograph Holiday Book Fair will be on Friday, December 14th, with a reception. Memberships are available to purchase online now, and as of November 23, as gifts as well. More information here.