Short Films at the Boston Jewish Film Festival, November 7–21, 2021
Short films capture a complete story in a matter of minutes, sometimes as few as five. Their ability to immediately pull the viewer in often relies on emotion conveyed through facial expressions. The characters also handle a dilemma, conflict, moral issue, or obstacle, carrying the audience along with them, as if present in the scene itself. This year’s shorts line-up at the Boston Jewish Film Festival includes narratives, documentaries, animation, and brilliant creations born out of Covid’s lockdown.
In Devek, a teenage boy takes his seriously ill mother to visit a medium, hoping to receive encouraging news about her prognosis. Instead, the medium shares the sad truth with him in private, and the boy’s face, digesting what this means for his life and hers, moves through an array of unspoken, deep feelings that pierce the heart of those watching. Here are just two of those memorable moments.
Nominated for the Ophir Award for Best Short film,
Voices from the Balconies movingly captures older people’s loneliness, not as much from their worn faces as from the visual imagery of their dwelling places in innocuous, high-rise apartment buildings, their lives like a sea of windows. The film’s mind-blowing photography delivers the full impact of the aged, who speak a line or two about their “aloneness.”
Voices from the Balconies, Dir. Manya Lozovskaya (2020, Israel, 6 min.)
Separated by Covid, Gil in Israel and Nira in New York have kept a long-distance relationship going via Zoom calls, which occasionally include long-distance sex. This film’s call involves a conflict for the couple to resolve, which Zoom, as their only medium of intimacy, impedes.
Long Distance, Dir. Asaph Polonsky (2020, Israel, 16 min.)
North American Premiere
The sinister face and body language of a shameless, deceitful character grips us the moment this movie opens, as we feel his evil intent. He’s hunting Jewish artworks in Paris, 1942, and his interactions with two art collecting families sustains upsetting suspense. The ending, though, delivers a twist!
The Collection, Dir. Emmanuel Blanchard (2019, France, 13 min.)
New England premiere
The uninhibited expressions on a little girl’s face as her vivid imagination moves this tale along, complements the unfolding of human behaviors and histories, and how they shift and affect relationships.
Ganef, Dir. Mark Rosenblatt (2020, UK, 14 min.)
Two worlds meet in this film about a creative, Orthodox young man from Brooklyn, who finds a place for his inner soul and talent outside of his cultural domain. When his success as a stand-up comedian in nightclubs grows, he faces the dilemma of where he truly belongs, or if it’s possible to inhabit two worlds, two cultures, in one person.
A Jew Walks into a Bar, Dir. Jonathan Leo Miller (2018, USA, 24 min.)
New England premiere