Jewish film festival

For the fourth year in a row, the Jewish Community Center has scooped up the best recent films with a Semitic theme for the Jewish Film Festival. It kicks off today with a screening of the documentary I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, directed by Richard Trank, who sharpened his skills as the producer of the near-legendary 1997 Oscar winner The Long Way Home. I Have Never Forgotten You, narrated by Nicole Kidman, tells the story of the world’s most famous Nazi-hunter, an architect by trade who survived the Holocaust and helped track more than a thousand Nazi officials across Europe and even into Brazil.

The festival continues next week with the worldly rotation of dramas and documentaries we’ve come to expect from the JCC. Dramas include Arranged, the tale of a bumpy friendship between two first-year Brooklyn teachers, a Muslim and an Orthodox Jew, and Steel Toes, about a skinhead and the Jewish lawyer who represents him in a hate crime case. Besides I Have Never Forgotten You, docs include Imaginary Witness, Daniel Anker’s look at the entertainment industry’s initially awkward relationship with the Holocaust. (Weird fact: The first television show to portray the tragedy bleeped out the words “gas chamber” so as not to offend a sponsoring electric company.)

The festival starts today at 8 p.m. and continues through Sunday, March 23. Most screenings are at the Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood Boulevard. Additional screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For tickets and information, call 713-551-7255 or visit $6 to $8 per screening, $66 to $88 festival pass.
Wed., March 12, 8 p.m., 2008

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Nick Keppler