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The 2004 Festival of Jewish Cinema (Nov 10 – 28) brings together movies from Argentina, France, Israel, Sweden, America, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Italy and Germany, in a smorgasbord of comedy, drama and reality.

The 2004 Festival of Jewish Cinema (the 15th edition) will be launched with the multi-award winning Lost Embrace, from Argentinian director Daniel Burman, a bittersweet comedy that won the Best Actor and Jury Grand Prix awards at this year's Berlin Film Festival. The 18-film program includes the extraordinary documentary Heir To An Execution, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, about the tragic and controversial story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, icons of the cold war era who in 1953 were executed for 'conspiracy to commit espionage'. Filmmaker Ivy Meeropol, who is the Rosenbergs’ eldest granddaughter, will be this year’s special festival guest.

The gripping drama Amen, from renowned director Constantin Costa-Gavras, is a historical thriller based on Rolf Hochhuth's groundbreaking play, The Deputy, which investigates Pope Pius XII’s failure to acknowledge the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Switching continents and decades, Atash, co-winner of Best Israeli Film at this year’s Jerusalem Festival (an honour it shared with Or (aka My Treasure) which is also screening). Shot entirely in Arabic with a story that unfolds like a Greek tragedy, Atash tells the tale of an Arab-Israeli family whose main breadwinner invests the family’s savings in a venture that ignites resentment from both camps.

The age-old vattlefield of the mother-daughter relationship is examined in two strikingly different movies - the glorious French comedy Tomorrow We Move, from esteemed Belgian filmmaker Chantel Akerman, and Or, which draws the viewer into a rarely depicted substratum of Israeli society. In addition to sharing the award for Best Israeli Film at the Jerusalem Festival, Or also received two major prizes (Camera d'Or and Grand Prix) at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The festival will be held in Melbourne (Nov. 10 - 28) at Classic Cinema, Elsternwick [bookings (03) 9877 6811] and Sydney (Nov. 11 – 28) at Greater Union Bondi Junction, [bookings 1300 306 776].

Published November 4, 2004

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Suzie Gold


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