The 24th annual Portland Jewish Film Festival is almost here! Proudly produced by the Northwest Film Center and co-presented with the Institute for Judaic Studies, the Festival is a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of Jewish history, culture, and identity through film, while also resonating universally, with audiences of any background.
Featuring 15 fantastic films from all over the world, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Here is a brief rundown of a few of the festival’s must-see films:
A Tale of Love and Darkness
SATURDAY, JUNE 18 @ 8 PM
The directorial debut of Natalie Portman, A Tale of Love and Darkness is based on the bestselling autobiographical novel by Amos Oz. The film follows Portman as Faina, Oz’s mother, as she and her son navigate the complicated early years of the state of Israel. With Portman demonstrating her chops both in front of and behind the camera, the film is a nuanced and heartfelt examination of Israeli identity and consciousness.
SUNDAY, JUNE 26 @ 7PM
Demonstrating the diversity of genres at the festival, Marcin Wrona’s Demon is a horror/thriller ghost story, based on the Jewish myth of the dybbuk. A creepy and effective chiller, the film involves a Polish wedding being haunted by a mysterious otherworldly presence as the groom goes through an emotional breakdown. Deftly balancing horror and black comedy, Demon has a unique atmosphere and poignant political subtext. Above all, it’s an incredibly well-crafted work, and definitely worth checking out.
Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt
TUESDAY, JUNE 28 @ 7 PM
This incisive documentary from Ada Ushpiz shines a light on controversial German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt. Famous for her subversive concept of “The Banality of Evil” in relation to the trial of Adolph Eichmann, Arendt also gathered criticism for her affair with Nazi supporter Martin Heidegger. Ushpiz’s film delves deep into Arendt’s life and philosophy, and comes away with a nuanced portrait of one of the 20th century’s most fascinating thinkers, whose messages about totalitarian ideologies, refugees, and morality still resonate today.
These three films are just a small sample of the films showing at the 24th Annual Portland Jewish Film Festival, the full lineup of which can be viewed here. Come join us at the festival June 15-29, and catch the latest and greatest in contemporary Jewish film.