A Film Unfinished

Yael Hersonski’s powerful documentary achieves a remarkable feat through its penetrating look at another film-the now-infamous Nazi-produced film about the Warsaw Ghetto. Discovered after the war, the unfinished work, with no soundtrack, quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record, despite its elaborate propagandistic construction. The later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings, showing the manipulations of camera crews in these “everyday” scenes. Well-heeled Jews attending elegant dinners and theatricals (while callously stepping over the dead bodies of compatriots) now appeared as unwilling, but complicit, actors, alternately fearful and in denial of their looming fate.

A Serious Man

A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances Sy Ableman.


Haim-Aaron is experiencing a crisis of faith – and visions of earthy delights – when his father brings him back from the brink of death. Was the young man’s improbable survival a violation of God’s will, or was it “tikkun,” a way toward enlightenment and redemption? Avishai Sivan imbues the narrative with an indeterminate, hypnotic blend of black comedy and alienated modernism, effecting a singularly uncanny atmosphere. Non professional actor Aharon Traitel, himself a former Hasidic Jew, gives a nuanced, knowing performance as the anguished prodigy, and the black-and-white chiaroscuro cinematography casts the devoutly private, regimented Hassidic community of old Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim in a morally shaded light.

The Promised Land

The Polish film based on the book of the same name by Wladyslaw Reymont. Taking place in the nineteenth century town of Łódź, Poland, three friends want to make a lot of money by building and investing in a textile factory. An exceptional portrait of rapid industrial expansion shown through the eyes of one Polish town.

Miller’s Crossing

Miller’s Crossing is the Coen brothers’ first successful attempt at reaching a wider audience. They illustrate an atypical Mafia story that sways away from the typical films from the genre like The Godfather or Goodfellas. Taking place during Prohibition, this film is an incredible piece of work accompanied by superb acting performances.

Felix and Meira

Félix is an eccentric and penniless French Canadian whose wealthy father is dying. Meira is a married Hasidic woman with a family, searching for something new. They were not meant to meet, let alone fall in love. Félix and Meira tells the miraculous love story between two strangers from two distinct communities, who attempt to love each other despite what separates them. [Synopsis courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival]


Lightning McQueen, a hotshot rookie race car driven to succeed, discovers that life is about the journey, not the finish line, when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. On route across the country to the big Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros, McQueen gets to know the town’s offbeat characters.

Life Is Strange

This is an independent documentary film that tells the stories of Jewish people who were displaced by the Second World War, but concentrates on the vibrant cultural and family life they experienced in their youth that ultimately was most influential in their lives. It explores the connection between old age and childhood, asking questions about what remains of childhood in our later years, as well as engaging interesting issues of self- identity, Jewish identity, and the struggle to make any sense of our experience. It includes interviews with Shimon Peres, President of the state of Israel, Walter Kohn, Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Robert Aumann, Nobel Laureate in economics, and Children’s book author Uri Orlev.

The Pin

Lithuania―circa 1941: An embittered elderly Shomer, a religious watchman responsible for guarding the souls of the dead before their burial, comes face-to-face with his long lost first love Leah when her dead body is wheeled into the morgue one fateful night. Time melts as he relives their days and nights spent hiding in a barn in Lithuania, fighting for survival as World War Two rages around them. Brought together in these extreme circumstances, what starts as mistrust develops into love, marriage and ultimately murder. In the end, the Shomer is able to find peace after a lifetime of regret by fulfilling a promise he made to the young Leah on their last night together. ~ Naomi Jaye. THE PIN is the first Yiddish film to be made in Canada, and was partly inspired by the writer/director’s late grandmother, Leah, whose personal phobia formed the core of this moving story.


Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film secretly since they only agreed to be interviewed by audio). His style of interviewing by asking for the most minute details is effective at adding up these details to give a horrifying portrait of the events of Nazi genocide. He also shows, or rather lets some of his subjects themselves show, that the anti-Semitism that caused 6 million Jews to die in the Holocaust is still alive in well in many people that still live in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere.