Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2009 - Day 5

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival graciously sent me a HUGE ENVELOPE of screeners of nearly the ENTIRE festival! (One must be careful for what one asks for!) The festival continues at the LaFont Sandy Springs, until Sunday, January 25, 2009.

FOUR SEASONS LODGE (dir. Andrew Jacobs, USA, 2008, 101 mins.)From the festival catalogue: "...captures the final season of a community of Holocaust survivors who summer together at one of the few remaining Catskills bungalow colonies. For decades, these families have returned to the lush New York mountains to share stories of survival, cheerful meals and late evenings filled with music, dance and comedy. There are friendships, rivalries, love affairs, and even lawsuits. Far from the darkness of Europe's death camps, this uplifting portrait presents a cast of characters who embrace their sorrowful past with surprising candor and humor. Directed by New York Times reporter Andrew Jacobs and handsomely photographed by Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens), FOUR SEASONS LODGE is a last chance to visit a dwindling world of exceptional men and women who triumphed over Hitler's Final Solution." And frankly, I can't say it better myself!

ONE DAY YOU'LL UNDERSTAND (dir. Amos Gitaï,France/Germany/Israel, 2008, 90 mins.) This is a very difficult film to access, particularly in the context of a festival. At least for me, it was. I would love to take some time, alone with it. There is so much going on in Amos Gitai's layered and dense character study of a man and his mother, reflecting on the Nazi occupation of France, as Klaus Barbie is brought to trial in Paris. Gitai's structure is particularly dense, as the trial is always on in the background, via radio and tv, as it spurs Hippolyte Girardot to explore his grandparents' lives during the occupation. Jeanne Moreau is her typically, incredible self as his grandmother. It is a deliberately paced and intricately woven story as the two characters slowly come to grips with a past that occurred forty years earlier. I plan on giving it another screening, as I don't think I fully appreciated it the first time.

SONS OF SAKHNIN UNITED (dirs. Alexander H. Browne and Christopher Browne, USA, 2007, 84 mins.) The topic of this documentary is the struggle of an Arab majority soccer team in the Israel Soccer League, and its struggle to represent its mixed populace at the national finals. It's pretty basic and was never really dull, but you do need to be a soccer fan to appreciate the nuances of the players positions on the team and the details of how team places work, I think. I was not necessarily left with the feeling of "national unity that goes beyond ideology" that would be the film's thesis. However, it kept my attention...

Maxxxxx says
re FOUR SEASONS LODGE: "Dooby dooby doo-ooo"
re ONE DAY YOU'LL UNDERSTAND: "I love you too"
re SONS of SAKHNIN UNITED: "Woooooo!"

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