The Jewish International Film Festival Is Back for 2023 wit…

If the Oppenheimer side of 2023’s Barbenheimer phenomenon has you wanting to find out more about the atomic age, this year’s Jewish International Film Festival has your next viewing option: documentary A Compassionate Spy about physicist Theodore Hall. His tale didn’t make the cut in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster, but he was part of the Manhattan Project team at Los Alamos, and also passed intelligence to the Soviet Union, as Hoop Dreams‘ filmmaker Steve James explores in one of JIFF’s must-see efforts at its latest fest.

When the Jewish International Film Festival returns for 2023, it’ll hit up seven cities between Monday, October 23–Wednesday, December 6, making movie-filled dates with Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Hobart and Perth. On the just-announced full lineup is a hefty 55 Australian-premiere titles spanning both flicks and TV shows, including everything from box-office hits to new episodic efforts starring a big-name US talent.

Israel’s Matchmaking hits JIFF’s opening night after success at home, following a Jewish Orthodox man’s romantic ups and downs in a film that’s been likened to Romeo and Juliet — but Haredi and a comedy. And that standout television series? Chanshi follows its namesake (Aleeza Chanowitz, Dismissed) in Brooklyn, with Barry‘s Australia-bound Henry Winkler as her father.

Also on the 2023 program: Jack L Warner: The Last Mogul, a documentary focusing on one of Warner Bros’ titular founders; The Engineer, about the manhunt for bombmaker Yahya Ayyash, as starring Emile Hirsch (Devil’s Workshop); delightfully named black comedy Ducks, An Urban Legend; Tel Aviv-set rom-com Elik & Jimmy; and documentary Erica Jong – Breaking the Wall, about the Fear of Flying author.

Exactly which films screen in which cities varies; however, the full bill nationwide also includes gangster comedy Hummus Full Trailer, musicals Less Than Kosher and Victory, vino-fuelled doco Holy Wine and docudrama Munich ’72 on its sizeable list. On offer in Melbourne only: a retrospective of movies based on Nobel Prize-winning writer Isaac Bashevis Singer’s work, such as Barbra Streisand’s Yentl.

And, as is JIFF’s custom, the program features a large contingent of movies that examine World War II, the Holocaust and their lingering impact. Expect to find Stella Goldschlag biopic Stella. A Life; the vengeance-laden The Jew; the Ukraine-shot, Yiddish-language SHTTL; Filip, which tells a tale of romantic pleasures amid the war; Delegation, about students visiting Poland’s Holocaust sites and confronting their Jewish identity; and closing night’s The Jewish Nazi?, a doco with Australian ties.


Monday, October 23–Wednesday, November 29 — Lido Cinemas and Classic Cinemas, Melbourne
Tuesday, October 24–Tuesday, November 28 — Ritz Cinemas and Roseville Cinemas, Sydney
Thursday, November 2–Sunday, November 12 — State Cinema, Hobart
Wednesday, November 15–Wednesday, November 22 — Dendy Cinemas, Canberra
Thursday, November 16–Wednesday, November 22 — Dendy Cinemas Southport, Gold Coast
Thursday, November 16–Sunday, November 26 — New Farm Cinemas, Brisbane
Thursday, November 16–Wednesday, December 6 — Luna Palace Cinemas, Perth

The Jewish International Film Festival’s 2023 runs from October–December. For more information, or to buy tickets, head to the festival’s website.

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