California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Jewish Studies Co-Sponsoring Film Festival At Alpert Center

Published: November 1, 2010

The Jewish Studies Program at CSULB will co-sponsor the 2010 Long Beach Jewish Film Festival beginning Thursday, Nov. 11, and continuing on Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Barbara and Ray Alpert Jewish Community Center.

Admission for the three-day film festival is $10 per screening or $45 for a festival pass. The Alpert Jewish Community Center is located at 3801 E. Willow St. in Long Beach.

“More so than in years past, this year’s films run the gamut in terms of variety,” said Jeffrey Blutinger, one of the festival’s organizers and the inaugural Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair for Jewish Studies at CSULB. “Other years of the festival have seen slates of films that have all been from Israel or have all been deeply serious. That changes this year. Two films, `Nora’s Will’ and `Anita,’ are in Spanish. We’ve also expanded the number of festival days to three. The selected films represent a range of experience for the viewer.”

The Long Beach Jewish Film Festival opens Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. with “Nora’s Will” from Mexican director Mariana Chenillo. Not satisfied with a life spent trying to control her family, Nora doesn’t intend to let death stop her. Her ex-husband is willing to go to ridiculous lengths to thwart her Passover plan, revealed through Nora’s post-mortem notes, but even though he’s still alive, he’s up against a master manipulator.

The series continues Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. with a screening of the 2009 feature “Anita” from Argentine director Marcos Carnevale. Anita’s sheltered life with her mother in Buenos Aires is shattered one day and a guileless Jewish child with Down Syndrome is cast adrift. The resources she summons during her odyssey are as remarkable as the way she illuminates the souls of the strangers she encounters.

The series resumes Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. with “Advice and Dissent,” a 21-minute short subject from the United States directed by Liebel Cohen and starring film legend Eli Wallach. If you want your wife to die of a curse, there’s a right way and a wrong way. Only a rabbi can tell you what Halacha (Jewish law) permits.

Next at 10:30 a.m., the curtain rises on “Inside Hana’s Suitcase,” a 2009 docudrama co-produced by Canada and the Czech Republic and directed by Larry Weinstein. Children in a Japanese school and their teacher receive a battered suitcase from among those found at Auschwitz and set about finding out about the woman whose name is written on it.

“Jews and Baseball,” a documentary narrated by Dustin Hoffman, screens at 2:30 p.m. Almost since it was invented, American’s chosen sport has been embraced by a people eager for American heroes they could identify with. From Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to Marvin Miller, the labor negotiator who created free agency, their colorful stories are all part of this sweeping history.

The festival concludes at 5 p.m. with “A Love to Hide,” a 2005 French drama directed by Christian Faure about a Jewish girl fleeing the Gestapo in occupied France who finds refuge with a childhood friend. But he is now part of a gay couple and all three are marked for extermination by the Nazis.

“The goal of the film festival always has been to make available to the people of the Long Beach-South Bay area quality films that reflect the Jewish experience,” said Blutinger. “Plus, it is part of the mission of Jewish Studies to raise awareness of the Jewish tradition and experience in the wider community. This festival will give people a chance to see some really interesting films that explore a whole variety of subjects from disabilities to contemporary Japan’s reaction to the Holocaust.”

–Richard Manly