1 9 9 7 F e s t i v a l


Germany, 1996, English, BW, 87 min Director: Stefan Schwietert
Back in their day, the Epstein Brothers – Max, Willis, and their kid brother Jules (now only 70) - were the "Kings of Klezmer Music" stars of the Hasidic wedding circuit. But it?s never too late for international stardom, as demonstrated by this impeccably recorded music documentary, as it follows the still swinging Epsteins on gigs in Florida, Brooklyn and Berlin.


England, 1993 English, color, 80 min Director: Elijah Moshinski
Why is Otto Schatz, former Nazi commander and now police chief of a small Bavarian town, sneaking around in his underwear? Why does he seem to be talking to himself, and why is he suddenly craving chopped liver and gefilte fish? Could it be that Genghis Cohn, former Jewish cabaret comedian, has returned to battle for Schatz?s soul? Starring Diana Rigg, Antony Sher and Robert Lindsay, this is sophisticated dark comedy at its British best. SBJFS is proud to announce that we have funded the creation of a new print of this exceptional film for our audience because the original print was destroyed.


Czechoslovakia, 1995, subtitles, color, 90 min Director: Zeno Dostal
When it is discovered that the mikva (ritual bath) has become impure, the villagers of Polana are thrown into an uproar. This warm and charming drama, beautifully photographed in Ukraine, depicts small town Jewish life as it was, with its joys, sorrows and struggles to survive. With humor and great affection, the film follows the characters of Polana as they set about restoring the balance of life to their little village.


Austria, 1992, subtitles, color, 90 min Director: Leo Hiemer
Leni tells the story of a childless older farm couple in 1930's Bavaria, who take responsibility for the care of Leni, a baby girl, given up by her mother. Their extraordinary love for the child grows and deepens each year. The warm village atmosphere changes to menacing hostility when rumors of Leni's Jewish ancestry surface. This powerful and moving drama explores parental love under fire from bigotry and racism.


Norway, 1997, subtitles, color, 98 min Director: Alexander Rosler
Warm and bittersweet, this is the story of a poor immigrant family, who leaves Germany and settles in Norway in 1954. The story unfolds through Mendel's eyes, a curious and brave nine-year-old boy. Mendel wrestles with the adult questions of prejudice, Jewish identity and his family's war secrets. Rosler's delicate characterization is inspired by his own life.


Italy and UK, 1987, English commentary and subtitles, color/BW, 87 min Director: Joseph Rochlitz
This dramatic documentary reveals the heroism of highly placed Italians, who, with ingenious bureaucratic evasions and literal roadblocks, willfully defied Mussolini?s orders to turn over Italian Jews to the Nazis. This gripping film tells the little known story of the successful effort by members of the Italian military and the diplomatic corps to save over 40,000 Italian Jews from certain death during WWII.


Canada, 1988, English, color, 20 min.
Shirley met Florence over 50 years ago, when they were in grade school in Montreal. Their love of music cements their friendship, which endures through Florence?s discovery of her lesbianism and Shirley's marriage to Florence's brother.

Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival * www.svjff.org