Charm Circle

Director Nira Burstein’s cinema verité documentary is a clear-eyed love song to her eccentric family who live in the chaos of their Charm Circle home, part of the Kew Gardens Hills section of Queens in New York City. There is her father, Uri, a kippah-wearing, guitar-playing, philosophical man who is never without a cigarette or a song; her mom Raya, a former occupational therapist and musician who has struggled with mental illness, but has established some very good boundaries with family members; her sister Judy, the family’s championship hugger, who is developmentally disabled; and Nira’s sister, Adina, whose upcoming polyamorous wedding to two people in the Pacific Northwest has sparked decided differences of opinions in the family. In other words, it’s a unique, complicated New York Jewish family simmering in heated discussion and a whole lot of devotion. Burstein trains her lens on her family with a bittersweet combination of curiosity and love. The result is an exquisitely observed and edited portrait of a family whose surroundings are in decay, but whose bonds are strong and true.

Preceded by Cohabitation

Proof of vaccination is required for all indoor screenings. Masks are mandatory. Read more.
SFJFF42 streaming titles are geoblocked to the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more.


Release Year
Festival Year(s)
Running Time
Premiere Status
San Francisco Premiere