“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
Opening Night: Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 7:00pm
The Women’s Balcony
Emil Ben-Shimon’s delightful Israeli dramedy begins with a crash: A synagogue’s balcony, to which women are relegated, gives way during a bar mitzvah. After the concrete crashes, the wife of an elderly rabbi is severely injured and the congregation’s happy little world is turned upside down. The tragedy overwhelms the old rabbi to the point that a younger seminarian, Rabbi David, takes over. He’s mesmerizing and boldly orthodox, full of strict ideas on women’s modesty. Sides are taken; wives and husbands are caught in a battle of the sexes. Well conceived, deftly comic and finely acted (particularly Evelin Hagoel as the gutsy wives’ ringleader), The Women’s Balcony overlooks nothing when it comes to addressing faith, segregation and sexism in a peppery, entertaining way. (Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail)
(2017, 96 min. Director: Emil Ben-Shimon, in Hebrew with subtitles, Not Rated)
Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 7:00pm
Keep The Change
Being different isn’t a hindrance to also being just like everyone else in Keep the Change — a lesson that David (Brandon Polansky), a grown man with autism, finds difficult to accept throughout the course of this empathetic romantic comedy. Charting David’s budding romance with Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), writer-director Rachel Israel’s film embraces its characters’ uniqueness while using a standard-issue genre template to underscore that, beyond their issues, they’re a familiar pair. Winner of the best narrative feature and best new narrative director prizes at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, it’s an ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet. (Nick Schager, Variety)
(2017, 94 min. Director:Rachel Israel, English, Not Rated, Contains scenes of overt sexuality)
Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 7:30pm
The Holocaust is put on trial in this legal drama based on a true story where the suspense is not in the verdict, but in the process of getting there. Rachel Weisz is Deborah Lipstadt, an author sued for libel after writing a book about the Holocaust. The lawsuit is brought by David Irving (Timothy Spall), a pompous blowhard who lists Holocaust denier on his resume of absurd positions. The suit is brought in British court, where the burden of proof is on the defense, meaning Lipstadt and her legal team must prove the Holocaust happened. (Adam Graham, Detroit News)
Deborah Lipstadt will Skype in for a Q&A after the movie.
(2016, 110 min. Director: Mick Jackson, in English, PG-13 for thematic material and brief strong language)
Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 3:00pm
Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer
In Norman, a delightful comedy from Israeli writer-director Joseph Cedar, Richard Gere plays the title character, an aging New York gadfly whose eye is always on the main chance. An inveterate dealmaker, name-dropper and chatter-upper, Norman isn’t above chasing down a hot financial prospect during the latter’s morning run. Wrapped in a camel-hair coat and natty-looking cap, he’s oblivious to the bad vibes he creates, ending even the most mortifying encounter with a chipper “I’ll call you!” Peppering Norman with obliquely mordant observations about Middle East politics, Cedar effortlessly propels the narrative into a sweetly pensive character study of a familiar archetype, which he invests with an angel’s share of humanity and heart. And that calls for mazel tovs all around. (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)
(2017, 118 min. Director: Joseph Cedar, in English, R for some language)
Our fans say it all!
Julie Watson Rutherford
“I LOVE the films. I learn new things every year!”
Yuri Paula Weydling
“I’ve laughed, cried and been deeply moved, many times all in the same movie. Baton Rouge is fortunate to have JFF bring us beautiful, funny, thought-provoking films.”
“The Festival takes a huge buffet of culture, history and entertainment and serves a manageable portion to participants that leaves us both satisfied and wanting more year after year.”
Please remember, we’re more than a movie festival
We aim to highlight the diversity of the Jewish experience through film. We do this by bringing you movies that deal with universal issues as they relate to Jewish traditions, challenges, and characters.
We aim to showcase Baton Rouge as a progressive, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic community.
We aim to reach a new generation of young adults by presenting a yearly Holocaust education program for junior high and high school students. This consists of a Holocaust-themed film accompanied by a speaker who is a Holocaust survivor.
We aim to support our community’s teachers by providing funding for Holocaust education. Deserving junior high and high school teachers from south Louisiana are encouraged to apply. Our program makes it possible for them to attend the Belfer National Conference for Educators, an internationally renowned conference held yearly in Washington DC’s US Holocaust Memorial Museum.