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Jewish International Film Festival 2021

After sitting out 2020, the cinema showcase returns with 29 features, 19 documentaries and episodes from three TV series.
By Sarah Ward
January 19, 2021
By Sarah Ward
January 19, 2021

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.

A hefty lineup spanning 29 features, 19 documentaries and episodes from three TV series is on the bill when the festival hits Melbourne between Wednesday, February 17–Tuesday, March 16 — running at the Classic and Lido 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 Ruth – Justice Ginsburg In Her Own Words, the latest documentary about the late, great Supreme Court Justice; Alan Pakula: Going for Truth, which pays tribute to the director of To Kill a Mockingbird, Sophie's Choice, All the President's Men and more; and 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.

Top image: Shtisel, Ohad Romano.

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