What is the world's best Jewish film? You decide

The Jazz Singer, or Son of Saul? A new survey wants to know your favourite Jewish movie


Comedian Matt Lucas, film maker Gurinder Chadha and actress Maureen Lipman have cast their votes in a quest to find the world’s favourite Jewish film.

The survey was launched by UK Jewish Film ahead of the 2018 UK Jewish Film Festival which runs between November 8 and 22. . Voting ends on November 1 and the the winner will be announced by BBC broadcaster Vanessa Feltz on November 8 at the festival’s opening night gala of Israeli film, Working Woman.

The definition of Jewish film for the purpose of the vote is any film whose content reflects or engages with, in part at least, Jewish life, themes or stories or Jewish sensibilities, language and comedy. You can vote via the festival’s website or through Facebook

Chief Executive of UK Jewish Film, Michael Etherton said: “This survey is a one-off opportunity to celebrate the wealth of films that have entered our cinematic lexicon - from outrageous Jewish comedies to some of the most powerful dramas of our time - all reflecting the incredible diversity of Jewish life and experience.

"Against a backdrop where antisemitism is increasingly being tolerated in Britain and across Europe I think film has an important role in countering this disturbing trend, bringing communities together and dispelling stereotypes and prejudice."   

Comedian Matt Lucas (Little Britain) named Au Revoir Les Enfants as his favourite, calling it “A witty, heart-breaking example of Malle at his best.”

Director, Producer & Writer Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) says her Best Ever Jewish Film is Bar Mitzvah Boy.

“I loved Jack Rosenthal’s films because when I watched them growing up as girl, the world he created for British Jews spoke to me as a British Indian in the absence of anything else remotely relevant and touching. He was culturally inspiring - clearly examining a community he cherished from the inside out - and his work certainly made a mark on my film Bend It Like Beckham

The Band’s Visit is s Maureen Lipman’s choice “Of all the films I’ve seen the one that remains in my mind’s eye is The Band’s Visit. I felt as if it were my personal discovery. It was As small, detailed and universal as a Jane Austen novel. The two principal actors- he with his sad camel’s face and she with that weary lost sexuality- were perfectly cast, restrained and seemed to have a delicate chemistry that most actors could never emulate. I am not surprised that it has translated into a TONY nominated Broadway musical and I can’t wait to see it.”

Screenwriter Dan Mazer (Borat)  went for When Harry Met Sally. “Although not specifically a ‘Jewish’ film, it is infused with an unmistakably New York Jewish sensibility via both the peerless Nora Ephron’s extraordinary script and Rob Reiner’s sublime direction. It is a film that is simultaneously ridiculously funny whilst being utterly authentic. It is personal yet universal, specific to a time and place, but also timeless in it’s themes and humour. Almost every scene would stand alone as a perfectly polished comedy sketch, yet they combine and meld perfectly to form a totally satisfying and compelling narrative, led by two completely real, delightful, hilarious but flawed lead characters who give the greatest performances of their careers. 

"It does the film disservice to call it a romantic comedy, with all the baggage that such a moniker suggests. It is a brilliant and inspiring comedy that warms your heart without feeling saccharine and not only survives repeated viewings, but gets better with age and is as relevant and current now as it was when it was made, It is hard to make comedy timeless, but in this as in so many other things, When Harry Met Sally succeeds.”



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