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Jewish International Film Festival

From stories of unlikely friendships, strange true life events to the heroes of history, the Jewish International Film Festival (23 Feb – 3 April) makes its sparkling return to Australian cinemas, showcasing the very best of Jewish cinematic gems from around the globe.

Featuring 55 premiere films from 20 countries, the Festival will deliver a vast program; presenting 31 feature films, 25 documentaries and episodes from 1 television series, and short films alongside a suite of live arts events to audiences in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra with the exciting new addition of the Gold Coast.

 “Adapting to change has been a theme for all of us over the last two years and our selection of films only highlights the challenges that come with adapting to change; a story all too familiar to Jewish people,” said Jewish International Film Festival Artistic Director, Eddie Tamir. “Amongst the cacophony of infinite entertainment choices available to us today, we are privileged to present this wonderfully curated program of incredible stories for the 2022 edition of JIFF, alongside a lively program of events and experiences.”


Kicking the Festival into gear will be Olivier Dahan’s moving and monumental biopic Simone Veil: A Woman of the Century – sharing the extraordinary life and legacy of the French feminist icon through pivotal events of the Twentieth Century. Simone Veil: A Woman of the Century completes a trilogy of films Dahan began with Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose, starring Marion Cotillard, and Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman.

Closing Night will screen the first two episodes of epic Israeli period melodrama The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, featuring an all-star cast of Michael Aloni (Shtisel), Hila Saada (The Baker & the Beauty) and Itzik Cohen (Fauda). The series spans three generations of a family set against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate, and the establishment of the Jewish state.


Melbournians can look forward to a special Classic Rooftop screening of Greener Pastures on 5 March, a laugh-out-loud comedy following an elderly man forced into destitution, who hatches a plan to sell marijuana to nursing home residents in order to buy his house back.


JIFF will showcase a vibrant abundance of Australian stories with film features including, Mother Mountain, which tells the story of a young, restless Jewish mother and her family struggles set in the idyllic Australian country at the base of Gulaga, a mystical and sacred Aboriginal mountain.

Marianne Mathy & Her Legacy documents a momentous figure in Australian music history who, after immigrating to Australia from Germany in 1939, went on to train many of Australia’s greatest opera singers. Japanese documentarian Mirai Osawa’s Where But Into the Sea illuminates the under-reported asylum process for Jewish people in wartime Japan and Japanese occupied Shanghai – many of whom made Australia their home.

In Australian short film The Holy Duty, Melbourne-based filmmaker Sarah Marcuson takes an intimate look into the lives of the 'Chevra Kadisha', or “Sacred Society”; a group of Jewish volunteers that spend years of their life preparing, sanctifying, and burying Jewish bodies.


Tales of unlikely and generation defying friendships litter the program including dramedy Here Today directed by and starring beloved Hollywood icon Billy Crystal (Untogether) as a comedy veteran in the early stages of dementia who forms a bond with a New York singer played by Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip).

Tiger Within recounts the initially tense friendship between a Holocaust survivor, played by Golden Globe winner Ed Asner (The Parting Glass) and a teenage runaway. Stirring French film Haute Couture centers on Esther, who has reached the tail end of her career as Head Seamstress at the Dior Avenue Montaigne workshop and her young protégé Jade.

The history and plight of the Jewish diaspora is highlighted in films including French filmmaker Sandrine Kiberlain’s directorial debut A Radiant Girl, which premiered in the 2021 Cannes Critics’ Week that offers a moving look into the experiences of a young woman during the Occupation in Paris. The handsomely lensed black and white film Shadow Country is a unique account of life in a small Czech-Austrian village, examining the dire effects of nationalism in the aftermath of WWII. Haunting drama The Conference, shot on location at Wannsee Lake in Berlin commemorates 80 years on from the Nazi conference, which conceived the idea for the systematic mass murder of millions of Jews across Europe.

Israel’s submission for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards and winner of Best Film at the 2021 Ophir Award (Israeli Oscars) is the bittersweet satire Let It Be Morning, depicting a snapshot of the Israeli-Palestinian tensions through the eyes of a Palestinian-born Israeli man. Nominated for Best Film at the 2021 Ophir Awards is acclaimed Israeli director Avi Nesher’s (Past Life, The Other Story) Image of Victory, a stirring anti-war epic that tells the little-known story of the Battle of Nitzanim in Israel’s War of Independence.


Documentaries that reflect JIFF’s 2022 theme of heroes of change include Sigmund Freud, a Jew Without God, a poetic documentary giving intimate access to the little known stories of Freud that move beyond his enigmatic ‘genius’ tag, starting with his Jewish roots in Freiberg to his experiences as a family man. HallelujahLeonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, is a charming exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and the journey of his internationally renowned hymn from record label reject to chart-topping hit. The documentary is packed full of performances from Cohen’s career, interviews with the star as well as other musicians who recorded their own versions of the song including Judy Collins and Rufus Wainwright. In I Am Here, spirited South African Holocaust survivor Ella Blumenthal reveals her astonishing life journey and unwavering appreciation of life.

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful is a humanizing documentary on a controversial genius – his unconventional and titillating depiction of women remains a topic of controversy – with legends like Grace Jones and Isabella Rossellini weighing in

Intimate profiles of past Israeli leaders include Upheaval, an incisive portrait of one of Israel’s most venerated and complex leader Menachem Begin, both a controversial figure and crowned peacemaker by the Nobel Prize Committee. Shamir: War, Peace and a Dream a riveting documentary bringing together a veritable roll call of Israeli politicians and generals to talk about the extraordinary life and legacy of Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir; and What If? Ehud Barak on War and Peace, which features former Prime Minister Barak observing his own history and the history of the State of Israel with disillusioned clarity, while trying to figure it all out.

Juicy docos on controversial figures include thrilling true-crime documentary Dirty Tricks, offering audiences an insight into the world of competitive bridge and centered on top Israeli player Lotan Fisher who was embroiled in a massive cheating controversy. Speer Goes to Hollywood follows   controversial Nazi figure Albert Speer, who dodged the death sentence and went on to attempt to callously whitewash his past. Featuring rare archival footage taken before and after WWII, the documentary explores how this close confidant of Hitler went on to become a best-selling author and TV personality and nearly convinced a big Hollywood studio to produce a bio-pic on his life.


JIFF’s expansive film program will be accompanied with a festival- long suite of special events spanning comedy, cabaret, script-reading and live music across Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick in Melbourne including exciting in-cinema Q&A events with film directors including Mother Mountain’s Celina Stang as well as jewish comedy trivia hosted by Monique Goodman and Eli Landes.  

Similarly, the Ritz Cinemas, Randwick will present a complementary arts program including a star studded band of musicians performing the best of Kavaret’s songs, poems and music arrangements in tribute to Leonard Cohen and digital Q&A events including Fourth Window’s director Yair Qedar and Blue Box’s Michal Weits.

2022 Jewish International Film Festival Screening Dates

SYDNEY              3 March – 4 April Ritz Cinema, Randwick 
                             3 March – 23 March Roseville Cinemas, Roseville  

MELBOURNE     2 March – 3 April Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick 
                             3 March – 3 April Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn 

BRISBANE           10 March – 20 March New Farm Cinemas, New Farm  
GOLD COAST      26 March – 3 April Dendy Cinemas, Southport (Queen Street Village) 
CANBERRA         10 March – 20 March Dendy Cinemas, Canberra  
PERTH                23 February – 16 March Luna Palace, Leederville 

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