The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center are delighted to continue their partnership to bring you the 29th annual New York Jewish Film Festival, presenting films from around the world that explore the Jewish experience. This year’s festival presents an engaging lineup of narratives, documentaries, and shorts, from restored classics to world premieres.
Dani Menkin’s documentary Aulcie is the Opening Night selection, screening in its New York premiere on Thursday, January 16. When a scout for the Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv spotted Aulcie Perry on Harlem’s Rucker Court in 1976, he recruited the athlete to join their fledgling team. Less than a year later, Perry led the team to a win in the 1977 European Championship, a victory that he repeated four years later. Aulcie delves into the riveting story of this legendary player, who put Israeli basketball on the map, converted to Judaism, became an Israeli citizen, and overcame his demons.
The Closing Night film is the New York premiere of Dror Zahavi’s Crescendo. When a world-famous conductor (played by Toni Erdmann’s Peter Simonischek) accepts the job to create an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra, he steps into a firestorm of conflict and mistrust as he tries to bring the two factions of young musicians together in harmony.
The Centerpiece selection focuses on the career of Marceline Loridan-Ivens, the French film director, author, producer, and actress who died in 2018. The Birch Tree Meadow (2003), starring Anouk Aimée and August Diehl, is Loridan-Ivens’s autobiographical drama about an Auschwitz survivor who returns to the camp to confront her past and the young descendant of an SS guard she meets there. This screening is part of an annual initiative highlighting work by women filmmakers that merit broader American recognition.