Film for Thought: Screenings on Saturday Afternoons

In the Jewish calendar, Saturday afternoon is a time to put business aside, to rest and contemplate the symbols, stories, and mysteries that animate our understanding of life. This year, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is delighted to introduce a new initiative created in the same spirit. Film Shul comprises free Saturday afternoon screenings and discussions open to anyone who wants to explore cinema's power to illuminate life's deeper meanings. Each Film Shul program features a screening of one or more challenging films and a discussion led by guest teachers chosen for their original ideas and zest for dialogue. The Temple in Time and Space LOCAL ANGEL: THEOLOGICAL POLITICAL FRAGMENTS is a first-person film by New York-based artist Udi Aloni, son of Shulamit Aloni, a founder of Israeli peace and civil rights groups. Grounded in its maker’s progressive politics, the film questions how ancient ideas of place and sanctity inform the contemporary debate over Israel and Palestine. The discussion of this screening will be introduced by Howard Hamburger, a lay spiritual leader of Kehilla Community Synagogue and a marriage and family therapist in Oakland, who has taught classes on Jewish themes at Lehrhaus Judaica and elsewhere. NEED REGULAR FILM INFO HERE: Premiere status, country, date, format, min., Country, language Director Saturday, 19 July 2003, 3:15-5 p.m., Castro Theatre, San Francisco Sharing the Screen: 20 Years of Israeli and Palestinian Cinema at the Jewish Film Festival Janis Plotkin, former executive director of the SFJFF, will screen a compilation of clips from 20 years of Israeli cinema, a fascinating look at a complex society through the eyes of its social commentators and artists. Janis will present clips representing the voices and views of independent Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers, as they turned their cameras onto the volatile and poignant relationships that embody the struggle for peace in the Middle East. What composite story of the last two decades in Israeli life does this body of work tell us? What futures does Israeli cinema foreshadow? Saturday, 26 July 2003, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley Women and Judaism PURITY, a film by Anat Zuria, depicts the traditional religious observances of mikvah (ritual bath) and niddah (laws governing sexuality, exploring notions of purity and uncleanness) that have often been disturbing to feminists seeking a new relationship to Judaism in modernity. TIKKUN, a film by Taliya Finkel, follows Rabbanit Leah Kook over the course of two years in the unique, ecstatic ministry to women based in her home in the orthodox community of Tiberias. A rare and intimate look into a very unusual orthodox family. NAME (NOT YET CONFIRMED) DESCRIPTION, will introduce the discussion of this screening with contemporary interpretations by religious women of these challenging concepts. Theater artist and executive coach Harriet Schiffer Scott ( will perform an excerpt from her one-woman show, Late Saturday Night Sunday School. NEED REGULAR FILM INFO HERE FOR BOTH FILMS: Premiere status, country, date, format, min., Country, language Director Saturday, 2 August 2003, 1-4:30 p.m., Rafael Film Center, San Rafael Meditations on Exile GALOOT, a film by Asher de Bentolila Tlalim (see full description in listings for regular screenings), will be screened as a Film Shul session on the final Saturday afternoon of the Festival, followed by discussion of our own meditations on the situation in Israel and our relationship to it.
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