UK Jewish Film Festival

Interview: Joan Rivers

October 29, 2010

Joan Rivers stands on-stage in a concert hall in the wilds of Wisconsin, regaling a packed audience with her trademark brand of edgy humour. Suddenly a man complains in a loud voice about a gag she has made on the subject of deafness. He announces he is walking out. Rivers, visibly shaken, subjects him to a volley of invective as he leaves the auditorium.


Where you can catch the Chasidic drug mules

By Jennifer Lipman, October 22, 2010

What do drug-smuggling Chasids, Joan Rivers and a Yiddish version of Shakespeare have in common? They are all coming to London next month as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival.

Now in its 14th year, the 2010 UKJFF has a packed programme, including a Chinese cartoon about Shanghai’s Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and the comic tale of an strictly Orthodox baseball team.

Of the 66 films being screened, nearly 50 are premieres, with the opening-night audience treated to an exclusive preview of The Debt, a thriller starring Helen Mirren as a former Mossad agent.


UK Jewish Film Festival trailer: So, Mrs Cohen

By Jennifer Lipman, September 29, 2010
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A taste of what is on offer at this year's UK Jewish Film Festival, which runs from November 4 to 21. Read more about the festival here.


Graham Norton, Al Murray and the Jewish joke

By Jenni Frazer, September 28, 2010

Al Murray is telling a Jewish joke. And Davina McCall and Brian Ferry are joining in. And, oh, look, there's actor Miranda Hart. And Boy George.

And writer Sanjeev Bhaskar (whose shrug goes right up past his ears). And that burlesque dancer, the fabulously named Immodesty Blaize. And comedians Shazia Mirza and Phil Cornwell. And tv presenter Jamie Theakston. And isn't that Graham Norton?


UK Jewish film festival ’09: it’s a wrap

By Jessica Elgot, November 26, 2009

It took 10,000 audience members, 65 films, 14 venues and two very talented Jewish brothers, but after a jam-packed 13 days, the UK Jewish Film Festival drew to a close last week.

The festival, which screened a record-breaking 31 UK film premieres, closed in London on Thursday night with the screening of Hello Goodbye and the presentation of the Shoresh Charitable Prize.

Israeli comedy A Matter of Size and documentary film Praying with Lior won the awards after voting by the festival audiences.


UK Jewish Film Festival: the finale

By Jessica Elgot, November 20, 2009

The UK Jewish Film Festival drew to a close this week, with the screening of Hello Goodbye and the presentation of The Shoresh Charitable Prize.

Israeli comedy A Matter of Size together with documentary film ‘Praying with Lior’ have won the award, which was voted by the festival audiences.


Review: Hello Goodbye

By Jenni Frazer, November 20, 2009

All the international star power of Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant cannot really rescue this thin comedy drama about the perils faced by a smart Parisian couple when they have a joint mid-life crisis which makes them move to Israel.

Alain Gaash ("with two 'a's") is a typical secular Parisian Jew, a well-respected gynaecologist with a gorgeous but apparently not very bright wife, Gisele, who converted to Judaism when the couple married 25 years before.(Quite how Alain, who was never circumcised, got to marry in shul, is not explained at this point.)


Campaign to help people with learning disabilities be barmitzvah

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

A national campaign which encourages synagogues and Jewish organisations to include people with learning disabilities has been launched.

The Inclusion Campaign was launched on Sunday at the UK premiere of the documentary film Praying with Lior, at the UK Jewish Film Festival.

The campaign, led by learning disability charity the Judith Trust, asks congregations to initiate practical steps to ensure that people with learning disabilities have a greater involvement in religious and communal life.


Review: Praying with Lior

By Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2009

Lior Liebling is 13 years old. He likes wrestling with his brother, annoying his little sister, and is finding it hard to concentrate on writing his Dvar Torah. But Lior is no ordinary barmitzvah.

Lior has Downs Syndrome. That he can undertake a barmitzvah at all is astounding. But perhaps even more compelling is that what Lior loves most in the world is davening, leading some in his congregation to believe he is ‘close to God’, a spiritual genius.


Interview: A Serious Man's Fred Melamed

By Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2009

The Coen brothers' A Serious Man has been hailed as their "Jewish masterpiece", but its cast is a far cry from the celeb-fest of Burn After Reading and No Country For Old Men.

Fred Melamed, despite starring in nine Woody Allen movies, is one of the cast of relative unknowns. He plays slimy love rival Sy Abelman to Michael Stuhlbarg’s protagonist Larry Gopnik, and he has been nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award for his work.