Jewish Film Festival at Doris Duke, Opens Feb. 12

Photo: Courtesy Honolulu Academy

The Ninth Annual Temple Emanu-El Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival opens this Saturday with eight scheduled films.

The films are contemporary and the stories are complicated, but that is what makes them so fascinating. Off and Running documents the struggles of an African American Brooklyn teenager trying to find her own identity among an adoptive family of two white, Jewish, lesbian parents, and two adopted brothers who are also of mixed and Asian race. In Nora’s Will—winner of seven Mexican Academy Awards—the main character commits suicide, but leaves a set of clues for her family to piece together after her death. These films invoke a curiosity into the lives of the characters—and, make the every day problems of our own life suddenly seem miniscule.

A true story in French and Jewish history is La Rafle and will more than likely bring you to tears with its portrayal of the roundup of 13,000 French Jews taken to concentration camps. The story is told through the eyes of the children—its central character an 11-year-old who escaped.

The Yankles breaks up the seriousness in the festival with an entertaining story of a professional baseball player who was kicked off the team because of too many DUIs, volunteers to teach a group of orthodox Jewish students in a college league as his community service requirement. The movie turns into a culture clash between a pro-player-turned-coach swearing like a sailor and a bunch of men running around uniforms that look “as if they went to a funeral and a game broke out.”

The film festival runs until February 20. For the full schedule and video clips, visit the Honolulu Academy of Arts website.