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By Sarah Ward
January 19, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
January 19, 2021
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Each week, Australia's cinemas deliver plenty of excuses to spend time in a darkened theatre with your eyes glued to the big screen. But when the Jewish International Film Festival returns for 2021 — after sitting out last year due to the pandemic — it'll serve up even more reasons to spend a night or several at the flicks, especially if you're keen to explore a top-notch program of movies and television shows with ties to Jewish culture.

The full hefty lineup spans 29 features, 19 documentaries and episodes from three TV series, a portion of which will be on the bill when the festival hits Brisbane between Thursday, February 18–Sunday, February 28 — screening at New Farm Cinemas. JIFF 2021 will open with Incitement, which won Best Film at the Ophir Awards (aka Israel's version of the Oscars), and steps into a young Orthodox law student's attempt to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister in 1995. At the other end of the fest, it'll close with the first two episodes from the third season of Shtisel, starring Unorthodox breakout Shira Haas as the member of a Haredi family in Jerusalem.

Also on offer: Haas again, this time as a teenager with a degenerative health condition in Asia; coming-of-age comedy Shiva Baby, focusing on a college student dealing with dramas at the titular event; and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, about a Jewish family fleeing Berlin in the 30s. Or, you can check out The Last Vermeer, with Dracula's Claes Bang as an army officer investigating paintings taken by the Nazis and Aussie star Guy Pearce playing a Dutch art dealer; documentary Breaking Bread, about the A-sham Food Festival; and Persian Lessons, which follows a man who falsely claims he's Persian instead of Jewish to escape execution.

Top image: Shtisel, Ohad Romano.

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