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A diverse selection of features and documentaries have been selected for the Jewish International Film Festival in Sydney and Melbourne this November, marking its 24th anniversary, say organisers.

According to the media release, the Festival is presenting over 40 critically acclaimed movies, with a major focus on Israeli cinema, the 2013 programme will screen across 200+ sessions and will explore, share and celebrate the rich diversity of the Jewish experience as never before. 

Showcasing films from around the globe, the Festival will focus on exclusive Australian premieres that will stimulate audiences eager for an exceptional viewing experience, building on the success of the 2012 season, which saw the Festival reinvigorated under the guidance of Director, Eddie Tamir, who will again helm the event.

Included within the many highlights of the 2013 line-up are four hotly anticipated films that are certain to captivate audiences from both within and beyond the Jewish community.

Fill the Void

Fill the Void, selected as Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Language Picture at the 2013 Academy Awards, is set amongst Tel Aviv’s ultra-Orthodox Hassidic enclave and tells the story of an 18 year-old girl who finds herself torn between love and duty when pressured to marry the husband of her late sister. Screening courtesy of Rialto Films, this compelling drama was the winner of seven Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards) including ‘Best Film’ and was a hit with critics and audiences at the Toronto and Venice International Film Festivals, winning lead actress, Hadas Yaron, ‘Best Actress’ at the latter. 

In Rock the Casbah, first-time writer/director, Yariv Horowitz follows a group of young Israeli soldiers assigned to watch over a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 1989 at the height of the intifada. Despite their instructions, the task proves virtually impossible, as most of their opponents are children. This tense drama, which won the ‘Art Cinema Award’ at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, vividly depicts the futility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Engrossing and deeply rewarding, The Last of the Unjust, which screened in Official Selection at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival, is the latest film from Claude Lanzmann, famed for Shoah, his landmark documentary on the Holocaust. A searing exploration of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Jewish Council in Czechoslovakia’s Theresienstadt ghetto, who was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, The Last of the Unjust draws upon a series of rarely before seen interviews with the elderly Murmelstein, shot in 1975. An enthralling study of this controversial figure, The Last of the Unjust will screen courtesy of JIFF Distribution.

Hannah Arendt, from renowned German director Margarethe von Trotta, stars Barbara Sukowa as philosopher and political theorist, Hannah Arendt, whose reportage on the war crimes of the trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in the early 1960s, stirred much dissention within the Jewish community. This multi-award winning drama, screening courtesy of Curious Film, will challenge and fascinate and is, without doubt, one of the Festival’s major highlights.

Published July 4, 2013

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