The cinematic dead zone known as January gets a welcome jolt this week as the Cincinnati Jewish and Israeli Film Festival returns with another unique batch of offerings. The six-day festival (Saturday-Feb. 3) provides “insights on various aspects of Jewish life, culture and history” via seven films that run the gamut in terms of genre, subject matter and stylistic approach.
Saturday's opening-night film, David Brooks' The Yankles, is a “feel-good comedy “centering on an ex-convict (Brian Wimmer) who finds redemption by coaching an upstart Orthodox Jewish baseball team. Kaspar Heidelbach's Berlin ’36 (which screens 3 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Feb. 2) is based on the fascinating true-life story of Gretel Bergmann (Karoline Herfurth), a Jewish high jumper at the 1936 Summer games in Berlin. Uncomfortable with a Jewish athlete on an Aryan team, but wary of an American boycott if Jewish athletes are banned from competition, Nazi Germany conspires to replace Bergmann with an “unknown uber-athlete.” Other fest films include Marcos Carnevale's drama Anita (7 p.m. Sunday); Israeli filmmaker Avi Nesher's The Matchmaker (7 p.m. Monday); Dan Cohen's documentary An Article of Hope; Linda Feferman's drama Seven Mintues in Heaven (7 p.m. Feb. 2); and Matthew Asner and Danny Gold's documentary 100 Voices: A Journey Home (7 p.m. Feb. 3).
All screenings take place at the Mayerson JCC (8485 Ridge Road, Amberley). Go here for directions and ticket information.