Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival Brings Drama, History to Valley Screens

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Political dramas are definitely not in short supply this year. Take your pick from 24 Days, which tells the heart-wrenching story of Parisian Jew Ilan Halimi who was kidnapped and held for ransom back in 2006 and the struggle his family went through trying to get him back, God's Slave, which looks at the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center in 1994 through the eyes of a somewhat reluctant Islamic terrorist and an Israeli special agent, or Bethlehem, in which a Palestinian teenager is torn between his loyalty to his brother, Ibrahim, and his father figure who just so happens to be a part of a plan to assassinate Ibrahim.

Just as dramatic but much less political is Closed Season. Through flashbacks, viewers learn the story of Albert, a Jew running from Nazis just after World War II, who finds sanctuary with peasants Fritz and Emma. Albert is happy to work the farm to repay the couple for their kindness, but Fritz, unable to impregnate his wife, decides that having Albert and Emma try to produce an heir would be a better idea.

The World War II theme continues with The Last Mentsch, in which an Auschwitz survivor examines his heritage and denial of it as he senses his life is coming to an end, and Run Boy Run, directed by Academy Award-winner Pepe Danquart, about a Polish boy's fight to outrun, outsmart, and outlast the Nazi regime.

Finally, it wouldn't be a film festival without a little romance, and there is plenty to be found in the love triangle involving two brothers of For A Woman, which was based on director Diane Kurys' own family history.

And don't miss Glenn Close and Frank Langella in 5 to 7, which explores marriage and modern relationships when a French married mother starts a relationship with a young American writer.

Showtimes vary for each movie and theater, but a full schedule can be found on GPJFF's website. Tickets are $11 online or $13 at the door for adults. For more information and to watch trailers for all thirteen movies, visit

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Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter