13th Annual Jewish Film Festival

November 24, 2016 22:52

I have just returned home from watching a really gripping film at the cinema. ‘So?’ Is what you must be thinking, it is of course Orange Wednesday and all! But this was no ordinary film…

This past week has been the 13th Annual Jewish Film Festival. It’s one of those events that you will pick up the flyer to read in while you are waiting for your schwarma’s in a take away shop or during the rabbi’s drosha at shul. You may even think to yourself that you will definitely go and see one of the films. But, as your food arrives or the rabbi finishes speaking, the flyer falls to the floor and all good intentions of attending a viewing with it. Well at least that’s what I would normally do…

This particular Wednesday night was like any other, I was bored after a rather uneventful week and decided to find out what was showing at my local cinema (Reel in Borehamwood). The title of a particular film intrigued me. It was called 'Seven Minutes in Heaven', which when reading the synopsis I was even more intrigued to see was about a survivor of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. I thought it was strange that I had not heard about the film via the regular Hollywood gossip channels and on further investigation I realised it was part of the Jewish Film Festival. I then texted my friend Sorah and asked her if she was keen to come and see the film with me. After a few texts back and forth, we decided after some Tutti Gusti take-aways we would go and see the film.

The tickets were £9 and even though I thought this was quite expensive, I also knew I was supporting a Jewish event which was an added bonus. So popcorn in hand (because clearly, the Tutti Gusti pasta’s was not enough!) we entered the cinema and I was not too surprised to see that it was quite empty and that we brought the average age down considerably (no offence to anyone who was there).

But then we were both surprised as we saw the cinema slowly fill up, it was not packed but there were definitely more people than I had anticipated and with that the film began. I was a bit disappointed as I was expecting the usual long adverts that are always shown before a film so that we could continue analysing a wedding we had been to over the weekend.

Now, I am not going to tell you much about the film, as I think you should all make the effort to see this very compelling, gripping and relevant story for yourselves. What I am going to share with you is how the film made me feel. I know I made a joke earlier about the average age of the audience in the cinema, but it’s those people in that cinema this evening who made Sorah and I realise how little our own generation appreciate what we have today and how many opportunities we lose out on. I also realised that I have seen many Holocaust films but no contemporary films about what other modern day Jews are going through. Also, I have often discussed how Jews have conquered all adversities from ancient times to be fruitful and successful today. These debates always make me appreciate that before the Holocaust there was no Israel and that everything that generations before us have gone through have allowed us to have Israel (just a £78.99 Easyjet flight away).

What Sorah and I took to heart beyond the harrowing scenes of destruction and bloodshed on the cinema screen, was that most of our generation (including myself) living in easy and cosy London today need to stop and think and embrace all the opportunities we have. These opportunities, events like the Film Festival (book festivals, peace rally’s in Trafalgar square, Yom Ha’atzmaut events etc) are tools that will allows us to continue to learn more about where we come from and not to take advantage of the comfortable lifestyle we have today. I am not assuming that no younger members of our community attended any of the other screenings; I am simply saying that it was really sad that we were the only 'young adults' in that cinema tonight. There was a lot to learn from 'Seven Minutes in Heaven'. It is a film that is relevant, I could relate to it, I could recognise the scenes in Jerusalem, I could appreciate the modern Israeli, I could feel what my fellow Israeli feels every time they get on a bus and yet I have no one else to share this experience other than my friend Sorah.

I know that tomorrow I will continue with my regular day to day life and my passion for this subject will probably fade, but at least there is a now chance I will go to next year’s Jewish Film Festival and I hope you will come with me?

November 24, 2016 22:52

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