Scarecrow Video Picks from the Seattle Jewish Film Festival Staff

by The Seattle Jewish Film Festival Staff

The 22nd annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival kicks off on Saturday, March 25 for a 9-day tour of the globe. Come take a trip with us!

If you can’t make all the destinations, or want to be even more prepared for the journey, here are some other great Jewish films to add to your itinerary, as chosen by the expert Seattle Jewish Film Festival staff. Check out these great pairings of what’s in this year’s festival alongside what you can find in the deep vaults of Scarecrow Video.

Learn more and buy tickets at:

At Scarecrow: Rent Yossi & Jagger (2002)

Israel’s Gus Van Sant or Todd Haynes is Eytan Fox, the country’s most-acclaimed director of LGBTQ narrative films. Truth be told, the U.S. doesn’t have a director like Fox, who is a household name for box office hits exclusively in the LGBTQ genre. Yossi & Jagger is his Milk or Carol, an Israeli classic about a forbidden military romance that is so universal you’ll be moved along with wowed by a several minute-long techno dance sequence that could win an award all on its own.

Coming to the festival? Don’t miss: Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? on Sunday, March 26 at 8pm at AMC Pacific Place 11, the Seattle Jewish Film Festival’s LGBTQ “Gay Gezunt” (a Yiddish expression for: Go, be happy and healthy!) film this year. A gay Israeli is torn between freedom in exile in London and returning home. Filmmaker/producer Barak Heymann will Skype in from Israel. The Seattle Men’s Chorus members perform too!

At Scarecrow, rent: Blazing Saddles (1974)

This Mel Brooks classic film is especially Jewish, down to the tongue-and-cheek prejudice-upending plotline including a Black Yiddish-speaking western cowboy. The symbolism here is of an outsider trying to be a part of a society that doesn’t want him, accented with Jewish references and Yiddish lines. A Sioux Indian chief recites “Zeit nisht meshugge, Loz em gaien…Abee gezint” which translates to “Donʼt be crazy. Let them go…As long as we are all healthy.”

Coming to the festival? Don’t miss: The Last Laugh. From Mel Brooks’ THE GREAT DICTATOR to Sarah Silverman today, pushing the boundaries and tested taboos of “good taste” can be hysterical. This star-studded film asks top comedians, prominent Jewish world leaders, and even survivors if the Holocaust can be funny? Come for a delicious brunch with klezmer music before at 9:30 (special event ticket) or just the film at 10:45 am (general admission). A great way to kick off your SJFF Sunday morning with a belly full of belly lox and belly laughs.

At Scarecrow, rent Shalom Sesame

Shalom Sesame is a Jewish version of the children’s TV program Sesame Street that featured guest stars including Mary Tyler Moore, Joan Rivers, Jerry Stiller, and B.B. King. The best is the Indiana Jones themed Sarah Jessica Parker Passover episode from 1991 where she interviews two grouches about Passover and plays the part of Jerusalem Jones in “Jerusalem Jones and the Lost Afikomen.”

Coming to the festival? Don’t miss: SJFF Teen Screens (teen are half-price: $6.50).

SJFF features two great films for teens, their parents, and sports fans alike:
Freedom Runners features elite Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Sudanese high school runners, all refugees and asylum seekers living in Israel, speaking Hebrew and hoping for citizenship. With the help of a caring coach, will they break down barriers and cross the finish line?
Supergirl features an unorthodox, Orthodox girl who can lift more than double her body weight and first held the powerlifting world record at age nine. A “powerful” coming-of-age story about the perils of adolescence and becoming a super hero.

At Scarecrow, rent AKA Doc Pomus (2013)

Up there among the most exciting historical documentaries we’ve seen, AKA Doc Pomus is the story of a Jewish boy from Brooklyn with polio who goes on to be one of the most prolific songwriters of his day. His hits include “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Viva Las Vegas,” and “Young Blood.”

Coming to the festival? Don’t miss: The Children of Chance. Maurice Gutman breaks his leg and is brought to a hospital in the Paris suburb of Garches. At the clinic, chief physician diagnoses him with a tuberculosis pathogen to ensure his safe harbor during WWII in the hospital along with a motley group of teenage boys, many Jewish, all being hidden from the Nazis by the attending doctor and senior nurse. A sweet story of how childish ignorance is bliss and can keep the danger at (sick) bay.


— Pamela Lavitt, Cultural Arts and Seattle Jewish Film Festival Director, and Lisa Hurwitz, Filmmaker and Cultural Arts Program Associate




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