By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2005, directed by Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh, in English; South Florida premiere): Aristotle tells us that, simply put, the life of virtue is simply better, that someone full of love will be happier than someone full of hate. Forgiveness, in that case, may well be the road to hard-earned happiness and perhaps even peace for someone who has suffered the unforgivable. Eva Kor and her twin sister Miriam were sent to Auschwitz and became subjects of Josef Mengele's unspeakable experiments. In adulthood, Eva chooses to forgive. Forgiving Dr. Mengele broaches this deeply disturbing, morally challenging subject, and the local premiere promises to be fascinating, with Eva Kor herself appearing for a postscreening discussion.
Checking Out (2004, directed by Jeff Hare, in English; Miami premiere): This comic twist on King Lear stars Peter Falk as an old actor planning a final curtain for his 90th birthday. The indie picture boasts David Paymer, Laura San Giacomo, and Judge Reinhold as Falk's children, and the director already has been hailed at the Palm Beach International Film Festival.
Awake, Zion (2004, directed by Monica Haim, in English; South Florida premiere): Hasidic Jews and Rastafarians who knew? Miamian Monica Haim, a nice Jewish girl who loves reggae, explores unexpected affinities such as those between klezmer and ska, a Reggae Passover CD, and the annual Sukka Jam. Preceded by a world-premiere screening of Avery Pack's short Artifact.
Directed by Ellen Wedner. Presented through January 29 by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Studies at these venues: Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr, Miami Beach; Bill Cosford Cinema, University of Miami, Memorial Bldg, Coral Gables; Regal Cinemas South Beach, 1100 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; Sunrise Cinemas Intracoastal Mall, 3701 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach.; 888-585-FILM, www.caje-miami.org/filmfestival.
Looking for Victoria: An Argentine Story (2004, directed by Tom Vriens, in Spanish with English subtitles): Sadly, inevitably, tales of those who disappeared during Argentina's military dictatorship have become a staple of the Jewish Film Festival and force us to confront the unsettling fact that the alliance of fascism and anti-Semitism did not end in 1945. In Tom Vriens's harrowing documentary, Adriana Victoria Lewi tries to piece together the true tale of her parents, who were taken away from her forever in 1978.