Today marks the first full day of the 12th annual Nashville Jewish Film Festival, which launched last night in Hillsboro Village with a Belcourt screening of the documentary Hava Nagila: The Movie, a visit from its director Roberta Grossman, and an opening-night reception at Cabana. This week's Scene contains an overview of the festivities, including a few words about tonight's feature:
According to Fran Brumlik, now in her first year as managing director of the Nashville Jewish Film Festival, the festivals have proliferated as production costs have taken a toll on the once-thriving Jewish theater circuit. "The films show a plethora of Jewish experiences that are celebratory," says Brumlik, a former manager of Chicago's National Jewish Theatre. "It's a way to connect with a shared culture and cement those ties."
But this year's NJFF, a program of the Gordon Jewish Community Center, represents a conscious break with some of the themes of the past. Brumlik says she rejected many of the Holocaust-themed films that once glutted the Jewish festival circuit in favor of movies that are "uplifting and celebratory of Jewish life." She points to films such as Gei Oni, a romantic epic screening 7 p.m. Thursday night at The Belcourt, as precisely the kind of fare she believes will connect with audiences: "a romance, a little sexy, based on a novel by a well-known author [Shulamit Lapid], filled with beautiful people."
Others in that vein include the French comedy-drama The Day I Saw Your Heart, starring Inglourious Basterds lead Melanie Laurent (7 p.m. Nov. 10); the Berlin Olympics docudrama Berlin 36 (4:30 p.m. Nov. 11); and the sexually explicit Polish espionage tale Little Rose (7 p.m. Nov. 14), which screens simultaneously at The Belcourt and the Franklin Theatre. Documentaries on Tony Curtis (12:30 p.m. Nov. 8), "Cake Lady" Fay Tenenbaum (a box-lunch matinee noon Nov. 12), and the great songwriter Doc Pomus (7 p.m. Nov. 15, hosted by Marshall Chapman and BMI's David Preston) are among the attractions rounding out the week.
Below, you'll find a clip from the documentary Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom, showing 12:30 p.m. this afternoon at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, 801 Percy Warner Blvd. Check back each day on Country Life for trailers and a guide to NJFF attractions.