Neil Diamond Film to headline Jewish Film Festival
BY KAREN BOSSICK
The story of a shy Jewish boy from Brooklyn who went through a lifelong question to discover himself through his music will be told this coming week when the 10e The annual Jewish Film Festival presents “Neil Diamond: Solitary Man”.
A free screening will be presented at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 11 at the Sun Valley Community School Theatre.
“We wanted a way to celebrate our tenth anniversary and the committee decided this film was perfect because it was one of the most popular films we’ve screened. We showed it six years ago and it attracted an overflowing crowd,” said Linda Cooper, who founded the festival. “Neil Diamond was such a vibrant artist – sadly he’s no longer performing due to Parkinson’s disease. But we’ll have a surprise at the end of the movie.
- The Jewish Film Festival kicks off Wednesday, July 6 with a free screening of “Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen.” Oscar-nominated director Daniel Raim’s film was narrated by Jeff Goldblum. The film was once called “the most powerful musical ever made”.
It provides insight into Norman Jewison’s quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia in his 1971 film version of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
The film includes behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen stills, as well as interviews with Jewison and the cast who recreated the story of milkman Tevye who tries to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as his eldest daughters struggle to marry for love.
“‘Fiddler’s Journey’ is a great movie,” Cooper said. “It’s a feel-good film. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry. It’s very colorful and full of interesting things, like where they decided to film different scenes and how they filmed the dance. It’s full of ideas on what it takes to make a great movie.
- The third film in the film series is “Persian Lessons”. It is a 2020 Russian-Belarusian war drama that was the Belarusian entry for Best International Feature Film at 93rd Oscars. The nomination was refused because too few Belarusians took part in the making of the film.
The film, set in a German World War II concentration camp, revolves around a Jewish man who lies to the commandant by saying he has a Belgian mother and an Iranian father.
The commander asks to learn Persian and the man runs for his life, even though he doesn’t speak a word of Persian. The commander wishes to learn four words a day with the idea that he will learn 2,000 words by the end of the war. And the prisoner responds by making up words, even as he finds a way to record the names of prisoners who die en route to camp.
Doors open at 5 a.m. for each film.
Cooper started the film festival to show some of the best Jewish films with the idea of educating and entertaining people about the Jewish experience. A committee of 10 to 12 people screens dozens of films before selecting those screened at the festival.
“It was such a big success for the community,” Cooper said. “And we’re very happy that COVID is over and we can get back to business as usual.”