“The Fourth Estate,” a film by Liz Garbus that goes behind the scenes at the New York Times during Donald Trump’s first days as president, screens at the Jewish Film Festival on July 26.

“The Fourth Estate,” a film by Liz Garbus that goes behind the scenes at the New York Times during Donald Trump’s first days as president, screens at the Jewish Film Festival on July 26.

Diverse views in 38th SF Jewish film fest

The 38th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival opens and closes with profiles of show biz giants Gilda Radner and Sammy Davis Jr. In between, it showcases perhaps some lesser known people and places, in nearly 70 films from 22 countries, with screenings over three weeks across the Bay Area as well as The City.

Describing its programming dedicated to diverse viewpoints, Lexi Leban, executive director of the presenting Jewish Film Institute, says, “The joy of collectively challenging our assumptions and discussing cinema together is what makes SFJFF a thought-provoking and transformative experience for Bay Area film aficionados.”

On July 24, director Ruth Beckermann speaks at a 6:10 p.m. screening at the Castro of “The Waldheim Waltz,” the festival’s centerpiece documentary. Primarily containing footage from Kurt Waldheim’s bid for Austria’s presidency in 1986 (he won), the movie re-examines the country’s collective guilt related to the candidate’s refusal to discuss his military connection to a 1942 Nazi deportation of Jews from Greece to extermination camps or acknowledge Austria’s complicity in Nazi war crimes.

The festival’s centerpiece narrative feature “To Dust,” screening at 8:30 p.m. July 25 at the Castro, stars Matthew Broderick as an upstate New York community college biology professor who forms an odd alliance with a Hasidic cantor (Géza Röhrig of “Son of Saul”) distraught by the untimely death of his wife and secretly obsessing over how her body will decay. Director Shawn Snyder and Röhrig are slated to attend.

The program’s Freedom of Expression Award goes to documentarian Liz Garbus, who will appear in conversation with Bonni Cohen (“An Inconvenient Sequel) at a 5:30 p.m. July 26 screening at the Castro of “The Fourth Estate.” The newest film by the Oscar nominee and Emmy winner (for “The Farm: Angola, USA,” about the largest American maximum-security prison in Louisiana) offers a fly-on-the-wall look at how the New York Times covered Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president.

A mini “Anatomy of a Feminist Film Movement” program offers “Netizens,” which looks at three women who survived cyber harassment and became advocates to change laws around online privacy, at 4 p.m. July 27 at the Castro; Nancy Schwartzman’s “Roll Red Roll,” which examines attitudes of perpetrators and bystanders surrounding an Ohio rape case involving an unconscious 16-year-old girl and high school football players, at 12:30 p.m. July 28 at the Castro; and 1933’s “Baby Face,” starring Barbara Stanwyck as a victim-turned-survivor, at 11:30 a.m. July 26 at the Castro.

Director Lisa D’Apolito and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Laraine Newman will attend festival opener “Love, Gilda,” a portrait of the late beloved, fearless comedian, at 6:30 p.m. July 19 at the Castro; while director Sam Pollard speaks at a 7:45 p.m. July 29 Castro screening of “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me,” his film examining the life of the groundbreaking, and conflicted, entertainer.

IF YOU GO
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.
When: July 19 through Aug. 5
Tickets: $13 to $75
Contact: (415) 621-0523, www.sfjff.org
Note: Screenings also are at Albany Twin in Albany, Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, Cinearts in Palo Alto and Piedmont in Oakland. Fourth EstateGildaJewish Film FestivalJr.: I’ve Gotta Be MeLexi LebanLoveMovies and TVSammy DavisThe Waldheim WaltzTo Dust

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

The San Francisco Giants celebrate team legend Willie Mays' 90th birthday before taking on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on May 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Willie Mays returns to the ballpark for a special birthday bash

Giants celebrate No. 24’s 90th in an intimate party for a few thousand friends

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Most Read