PITTSFIELD, Mass.– The Berkshire Jewish Film Festival, one of the longest running in the United States, has announced its 30th consecutive season. The festival, on Mondays from July 11 through Aug. 15, is in the Duffin Theater, Lenox Memorial High School, 197 East St., Lenox, Mass. Fourteen films will be featured from the United States, Israel, and international sources. All presentations are open to the public. Admission prices are $7 for matinees and $10 for the evening shows.
The festival opens July 11 at 4 p.m. with two films. “Projections of America,” which documents the request from the Office of War Information to create short, informative films that would redefine the image of America to the world during WWII. Robert Raskin, Academy Award winning screenwriter headed the project with the belief that “the power of movies” could reshape the world. “The Cummington Story,” produced by the United States Information Service, depicts the integration of WWII refugees into the small town of Cummington, Mass. At 8 p.m. “On the Map” relates the true story of a Tel Aviv basketball team no one thought could win who toppled the four-time defending European Champions. It will be presented as a sneak preview screening.
“Ave Maria,” an Academy Award short film nominee, at 4 p.m. will be featured on July 18. It portrays the disruption of the silent routine of five nuns in the West Bank when an Israeli settler’s car breaks down outside the convent just as the Sabbath begins. A second film, “Breakfast at Ina’s,” pays an affectionate homage to a beloved Chicago eatery and its magnetic namesake. The film chronicles the final days of a restaurant individual as its founder. At 8 p.m. “Remember” stars Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer who plays a dementia-stricken Holocaust survivor out for revenge in master director Atom Egoyan’s supremely suspenseful thriller. Themes of mourning and self-denial are braided together in a paced and intricately plotted story.
The festival continues on July 25 at 4 p.m. with “Zemene,” a feature documentary about an Ethiopian girl who struggles with poverty, poor education and potentially life-threatening illness, and is saved by Dr. Rick Hodes. “Love and Taxes” at 8 p.m. is a comedy of solo performance and scripted scenes which tells the tale of seven years of tax avoidance.
“Brundibar Revisited” to be showcased on Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. tells of a Berlin-based youth theater, comprised of children of various ethnic backgrounds who live on the fringe. They learn various lessons as they stage the opera Brunidbar, which was performed 50 times by Jewish youth in Theresienstadt. “Sabena Hijacking: My Version” to be screened at 8 p.m. is a re-enactment combined with harrowing testimonies in the true story of a terrorist siege that forever shaped the Jewish State.
At 4 p.m. on Aug. 8, “Je Suis Charlie” addresses journalistic freedom, the ongoing threat of Islamic fundamentalism, and the larger ideals of a democratic nation. This tribute to the slaughtered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists chronicles the aftermath of the terrorist attack. “Very Semi-Serious” slated for 8 p.m. is an offbeat documentary about humor, art and the genius of the New Yorker cartoon.
“Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” will be the 4 p.m. selection on Aug. 15. It shows a humorous, and provocative examination of the role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. At 6:30 p.m. the Berkshire Jewish Film Festival will celebrate its anniversary of 30 years of summer film presentations with a reception. This will be followed by the final film of the season at 8 p.m. In “The Great Dictator” Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel’s regime. Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed and starred in his classic first talkie.
Seating is general admission. Congregation Knesset Israel at 413-445-4872, ext. 25, or www.knessetisrael.org can provide details.