Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jason previews upcoming events--SF Jewish Film Festival

So my regular readers might notice there's been a slight downturn of activity here. Basically we're in the summer blockbuster doldrums. Yeah, I still watch some blockbusters, if I'm interested, but typically in the summer I fall off to 1-2 movies a week. And now I have to remind myself that 1-2 movies a weekend is still a lot to most people, just not to me.

Anyway, these summer doldrums are a combination of a number of things: A bit of fatigue, a bit of 'not much watchable in theaters', a bit of 'better things to do while the weather is nice', and a whole lot of 'not many big festivals that really interest me'. You see, the major film festivals (at least for me) in the area are mostly loaded into the front of the year, with Indiefest, Cinequest, and Asianfest all nearly back-to-back-to-back, then a little breather and SF International. There still are some in the summer. Holehead of course, which I attended. There's also Frameline, the LGBT festival, which I skipped this year because it was right after Holehead and I was exhausted (literally, Frameline's opening night was Holehead's closing night), but I've seen some movies there before. There are also the silent film fests, both in the Niles district of my hometown of Fremont (where Charlie Chaplin had a studio way back when) and this upcoming weekend in San Francisco. But I missed the first and looks like I'll be busy this weekend (possibly I'll see the Sunday program, but I'll be busy Friday and Saturday).

Well, the point is there are a couple of upcoming events that I'll attend and I'm excited about. And the first one is the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, starting a week from tomorrow. This is the oldest Jewish film festival in the world, celebrating its 27th year. The nice thing for me personally is that I'm actually kind of in the demographic for this festival. I'm Jewish, or half-Jewish (dad's Jewish, so technically I'm not really Jewish at all since it's a matrilineal culture), or not religiously Jewish but dig that part of my heritage. It's pretty clear at the Asian American Festival that I'm not really Asian, I just enjoy their movies--and I should emphasize that everyone's really friendly about it. At Frameline, I've occasionally had to explain that I'm not actually gay, but when you're desperate any film festival will do (and again, they're very friendly about it, too). But here I'll get to jew out with my tribe, and that's cool.

I'll actually be out of town for the first week, so I'll miss most of the San Francisco shows (I might come to opening night, unless the film plays again at a more convenient time for me), but I'll be back for most of the Berkeley and/or Palo Alto section of the festival. I haven't worked out my entire schedule or bought tickets, but I'll probably be spending most of the time in Berkeley at the Rhoda Theater.

There is one film I'm very specifically looking forward to. A few years ago, Dani Levy got the film world talking by making "Alles Auf Zucker!" ("Go For Zucker!"), the first post WWII German Jewish comedy to win best picture at the German Film Awards (their equivalent of the Oscars). That ended up opening the SF Jewish Film Festival a couple years ago (where he claimed that Germans don't have a sense of humor of their own, they have a Jewish sense of humor, hence it was natural for him to make a Jewish comedy in Germany). His follow-up sounds way more outrageous, "My Fuehrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler", a wacky slapstick comedy about the final days of Hitler, and from the moment over a year ago when I heard he was making this, I was dying to see it. Can't wait, I'm planning on seeing the July 31 show in Berkeley.

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