By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Another film series, offering the best of Israeli cinema, is a popular tradition at the Kane Street Synagogue.
The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival at Kane Street Synagogue marks its ninth year celebrating Israeli cinematography. This popular festival is a major venue for some of the newest and best films coming from Israel. The festival, beginning on Thursday, Jan. 24, and continuing on Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27, again features three nights of award-winning, thought-provoking films, plus discussions with film experts. There is no movie on Friday night in observance of Shabbat. The 2013 films explore themes with a common thread: all expose previously untold stories about Jewish European immigrants who were affected by the Holocaust, examining their impact on Israel and Israel’s impact on their lives.
The 2013 festival kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. with "The Flat," an emotionally riveting documentary that follows director Arnon Goldfinger’s investigation of mysterious memorabilia, which lead him to discover disturbing secrets regarding his grandparents’ past. "The Flat," in Hebrew, German and English with English subtitles, was awarded Best Documentary, 2011 Israeli Academy Awards; Best Documentary Director, 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival; and Best Editing, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. After the viewing, Professor Geoffrey S. Cahn, an expert in post-Holocaust reconciliation, will lead a film discussion.
The festival continues on Saturday night, Jan. 26 at 8:00 with "My Australia," the story of two brothers coming to terms with their Jewish identity. Polish brothers Tadek, 10, and Andrzej, 14, whose mother is raising them as Catholics, have no idea that she is secretly a Jewish Holocaust survivor. But when the brothers join an anti-Semitic gang that assaults Jews, and then get arrested, their mother decides to move with her sons to Israel. To soften the blow, she tells Tadek that they are going to Australia, which has always been his dream. She delegates Andrzej to tell Tadek the truth, which adds to the film elements of suspense and tension. Told from Tadek’s perspective with sensitivity and humor, this film examines the much-neglected post-war generation born in Europe and its relationship to Jewish and Israeli identity.
"My Australia," in Hebrew and Polish with English subtitles, was named the winner of the Audience Choice Award, 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival.
The Festival concludes on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. with the English-language film "Orchestra of Exiles." From Academy Award-nominated director Josh Aronson, this documentary tells the dramatic story of world-renowned Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, who rescued some of the world’s greatest musicians and their families from Nazi-occupied Europe to create the orchestra that would become the Israeli Philharmonic. This powerful film features Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell and others. There will be a post-film Q&A with Director Josh Aronson.
Tickets, $12 per film or $30 for the entire series of three films, can be purchased at www.kanestreet.org/IFF or at the door. For more information about the festival, readers may visit www.kanestreet.org/iff, facebook.com/brooklynIFF and Twitter@BrooklynIFF. Kane Street Synagogue is at 236 Kane Street between Court and Clinton Streets in Cobble Hill.