Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival 2021
In-Person Film Screenings
HK$100 Individual Ticket
HK$1,500 Macher Pass (access to all Festival screenings, sold through HKJFF channels only)
- Please present the QR code at the registration (phone screenshots are acceptable) for check-in purposes.
- If you are registering for your friend, please share the confirmation email and the QR code with them before the event.
- In response to the guidelines from the government, cinemas are only allowed to operate at their 85% capacity for all screenings. Online registration is required. Audiences must wear face mask and NO eating and drinking is allowed in the venue.
Pre-Festival Screening: Laces
Wednesday, November 3, 7:00pm
Director: Jacob Goldwasser | Israel | 2018 | Drama | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 98 mins
Nominated for eight Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film, Laces is a wholly engaging, tender family 'dramedy' about the knotty relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and the exuberant special-needs son he abandoned long before. It is a charming tale full of optimism and humour. Reuben’s kidneys are failing. His son Gadi wants to donate one of his own kidneys to help save his father’s life. A rare, honest depiction of special-needs characters, told with gentle humor and sensitivity, Laces is the highly personal project of director Jacob Goldwasser, himself a parent of a special-needs child.
Awards & Nominations
- 2019 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival- Winner
- Audience Award: Best Narrative Jacob Goldwasser (director)
- 2018 Awards of the Israeli Film Academy
- Winner- Best Supporting Actor: Doval’e Glickman, Best Film, Best Director: Jacob Goldwasser, Best Actor: Nevo Kimchi
- Nominee- Best Editing: Itamar Goldwasser, Best Art Direction: Yoel Herzberg, Best Makeup: Revital Cohen, Best Music: Daniel Salomon
A Call To Spy
Sunday, November 14, 1:00pm
Director: Lydia Dean Pilcher | USA | 2019 | Feature / History / Drama | English | 123 min
Early in WWII, Churchill orders his new secret spy agency – The Special Operations Executive – to recruit and train women as spies to aid Britain’s war effort. Their mission: to conduct sabotage and build a resistance. ‘Spymistress’ Vera Atkins, a Jewish Romanian immigrant, recruits two unexpected candidates, Virginia Hall, an ambitious American with a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim pacifist. Together, these women help to undermine the Nazi regime in France, leaving an unmistakable legacy in their wake.
Sunday, November 14, 3:15pm
Director: Amir Har-Gil | France / Israel | 2020 | Short / Documentary | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 14 min
Moshe Sneh: Defense Minister, Chief of Staff in-the-making, and the man in command of bringing thousands of Holocaust survivors from Europe to Israel, in spite of British Mandate opposition. This film focuses on SS Exodus, a daring rescue operation on a vessel that became known as ‘the ship that launched a nation’.
Director: Shaylee Atary | Israel | 2020 | Short / Drama | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 31 min
After an injury, an awkward relationship develops between Or, a 30-year-old wheelchair-bound patient, and her new physiotherapist. The new breezes of desire invigorate Or’s daily rehabilitation routine at her mother’s house.
Director: Rani Avidan | Israel | 2020 | Short | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 14 min
A concerned citizen encounters political writing on a public bus stop and decides to call city services. When they fail to respond, he decides to take the law into his own hands.
Director: Caroline Brami, Frédéric Bas | France | 2020 | Short / Drama | French / English Subtitles | 16 min
Julia, a history teacher in a quiet high school, faces a school inspector. He wants to talk to her – but what about, exactly? Her heated debates with the principal? The freedom she takes with the school curriculum? Or is it the way she teaches the Holocaust?
The Tattooed Torah
Director: Marc Bennett | USA | 2019 | Animated Short | English | 21 min
An animated film based on the beloved children’s book “The Tattooed Torah” by Marvell Ginsburg that has been educating young children about the Holocaust for generations. A powerful resource for Holocaust education for children all over the world, this film narrated by Ed Asner recounts the true story of the rescue and restoration of a small Torah from Brno, Czechoslovakia, and teaches the Holocaust not only as a period of destruction but also as an opportunity for redemption.
The Ugly Swan
Director: Rachel Levy | Israel | 2021 | Short | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 12 min
An ultra-Orthodox woman going out on a date is burdened with a terrible secret.
Director: Alfonso Gastiaburo | Argentina | 2020 | Short / Documentary / History | Spanish / English Subtitles | 18 min
Argentina 1939. While the World Chess Championship was taking place, breaking news shocked the participants: Germany had invaded Poland and World War II had erupted. Many great chess masters were stranded away from their home countries and began to organize exhibitions in order to make their living. One of these masters decided to search for something else…
Til Kingdom Come
Sunday, November 14, 5:15pm
Director: Maya Zinshtein | Israel / UK / Norway | 2020 | Documentary | English / Arabic / Hebrew / English Subtitles | 76 mins
This revealing documentary traces the unusual relationship between Evangelical Christianity and the Jewish State. Millions of American Evangelicals are praying for the State of Israel. Among them are the Binghams, a dynasty of Kentucky pastors, and their Evangelical congregants, who live in an impoverished coal-mining town. The film exposes a jarring backstory of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, where financial, political and messianic motives intersect with an apocalyptic worldview that is insistently reshaping American foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle-East.
Love It Was Not
Sunday, November 14, 6:45pm
Director: Maya Sarfaty | Israel / Austria | 2020 | Documentary / Holocaust | English / Hebrew / German / English Subtitles | 86 mins
Flamboyant and in the prime of her life, Helena Citron is taken to Auschwitz as a young woman and finds unlikely solace under the protection of Franz Wunsch, a high-ranking SS officer who falls in love with her and her magnetic singing voice. Risking certain execution if caught, their forbidden relationship went on until her liberation in 1945. When a letter arrives thirty years later from Wunsch’s wife, begging Helena to testify on Wunsch’s behalf, she is faced with an impossible decision. Will she help the man who brutalised so many lives, but saved hers?
Sunday, November 14, 8:30pm
Director: Ole Christian Madsen | Denmark | 2020 | Drama | Danish / English Subtitles | 106 mins
The year is 2015. In icy cold Europe, people are slowly moving on after the shocking terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. In Copenhagen, the newly released criminal Omar has his own agenda. The lives of four strangers intersect tragically in this movie adaptation of the February terrorist attacks that rocked Copenhagen. All too late they realize that life can change in an instant, leaving only one of them left to tell the story about the tragic attack that forever changed the country.
The Auschwitz Report
Monday, November 15, 7:00pm
Director: Peter Bebjak | Slovakia / Czech Republic / Poland | 2021 | Drama / History / Holocaust | English / German / English Subtitles | 94 mins
The Auschwitz Report follows Freddy and Valér, two Slovakian Jewish men on their agonizing attempt to escape the concentration camp. Each day they watch, count, and document the number of prisoners delivered to the camp, as well as the daily death toll, in order compile a detailed report about the systematic genocide they witness at the camp. Starving and injured, the brave pair escape and forge ahead to deliver their proof of rampant genocide to leaders of the Red Cross. However, with Nazi propaganda and international liaisons still in place, their allies are reluctant to believe their account. A harrowing film based on true events that will leave audiences forever changed.
Monday, November 15, 8:45pm
Director: Leo Khasin | Germany | 2020 | Drama / Comedy | German / English Subtitles | 89 mins
After an altercation between an Iranian, a Palestinian and a Jewish student, the parents of the boys are called to the school to resolve the situation. Though full of good intentions, their teacher inadvertently exposes her own misguided assumptions to hilarious effect, such as offering snacks decorated with Palestinian and Israeli flags. Written with a light touch, Director Leo Khasin takes on the weighty topic of anti-Semitism in German schools, in an attempt to explore the complexities of finding a common language in the fight against prejudice.
Lebanon: Borders of Blood
Tuesday, November 16, 7:00pm
Created by: Reinhardt Beetz, Duki Dror, Itai Landsberg | Israel / Germany | 2020 | Documentary | Hebrew / French / English / Arabic / English Subtitles | 90 mins
For the past five decades, Lebanon, once the jewel of the Middle East, has been engulfed by strife, chaos and bloodshed. In his incisive documentary, Israeli director Duki Dror compares this small nation to an active volcano that explodes periodically, destabilizing everything in its path. Using graphic file footage and informative interviews with Lebanese, Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, Dror draws a vivid portrait of a country in crisis. Caught up in the chaos are the Lebanese civilians. Consisting of different sects, religions, and ethnicities, the Lebanese people are now writing their own history, in a string of political assassinations, massacres, and betrayals.
Tuesday, November 16, 8:45pm
Director: Eytan Fox | Israel / USA | 2020 | Drama / Comedy / Romance | Hebrew / English / English Subtitles | 89 mins *Warning: Sexual Content and Nudity
New York Times travel writer Michael sublets an apartment in Tel Aviv and meets Tomer, a younger film student who is renting it out in need of some extra money. The energy of the city and his relationship with Tomer gradually bring Michael back to life. Touching and at times sentimental, Sublet is both a love story to the vibrant city of Tel Aviv and an illuminating tale of both the simplicity and complexity of human relations.
Yerusalem, The Incredible Story of Ethiopian Jewry
Wednesday, November 17, 7:00pm
Director: Levi Zini | Israel | 2021 | Documentary | English / Hebrew / Amharic / English Subtitles | 90 mins
This year marks 30 years since Operation Solomon, the third mission to airlift Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. Yerusalem brings to life the story of a long, dramatic and tumultuous journey as the Jewish Ethiopian community, also known as “Beta-Israel”, finally find their way back to the heart of the Jewish people after centuries. “Yerusalem” tells a moving and gripping story of heroic actions, daring covert operations and a powerful religious yearning passed down for countless generations.
Wednesday, November 17, 8:45pm
Director: Keith Thomas | USA | 2019 | Horror / Mystery / Thriller | English / Yiddish / Hebrew / English Subtitles | 89 mins
Set over the course of a single night in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood, The Vigil is a Jewish supernatural thriller steeped in ancient Jewish folklore. Yakov Ronen is a young man struggling to live outside of the Orthodox community. He reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi to take on the responsibility of being an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased person. With only the company of the recently departed and an ailing widow, he soon finds himself exposed to a terrifying spiritual entity inhabiting the house.
Outremont and the Hasidim
Saturday, November 20, 7:10pm
Director: Eric R. Scott | Canada | 2019 | Documentary | English / French / Yiddish / English Subtitles | 51 mins
Some 7,000 “Hasidim” (ultra-Orthodox Jews) live in the affluent Montréal borough of Outremont. After settling there more than 70 years ago, the Hasidim are a rapidly growing minority group, representing a challenge for certain members of the local French-speaking Québécois. The Francophone elite fear the massive influx of this group, which according to some, refuses to integrate. This revealing documentary lifts the veil on the practices and traditions of the Hasidic community, while presenting their hopes, fears and expectations. Successfully avoiding clichés, the film conveys the perspectives of both sides in an effort to discover both what divides and unites them.
Here We Are
Saturday, November 20, 8:15pm
Director: Nir Bergman | Israel / Italy | 2020 | Feature / Drama | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 92 mins
Aharon and his autistic son Uri live together in peaceful harmony, away from the pressures and stigmas of the real world. However, as Uri grows up, his mother Tamara feels that he should be around his peers and learn to live more independently in an assisted-living facility. When the time comes to leave, Aharon decides to run away with his son, knowing that Uri is not ready for this separation. But is it in fact Aharon, who isn’t ready? Packed with heart-wrenching emotion, this film is a bittersweet, life-affirming story about fatherly love and the difficulty of letting go.
Saturday, November 20, 10:00pm
Director: Emma Seligman | USA / Canada | 2020 | Comedy | English | 77 mins
Danielle is at a funeral service with her parents when she runs into both her ex-girlfriend, Maya, and her sugar daddy, Max. While enduring the usual questioning from relatives, Danielle attempts to negotiate with her over-involved mother, manages her interactions with Maya, and deals with her secret relationship with Max, who turns out to have extra secrets of his own. There is also the question of who has died…
Schocken on the Verge of Consensus
Sunday, November 21, 12:30pm
Director: Noemi Schory | Israel / Germany | 2020 | History / Documentary | English / Hebrew / German / English Subtitles | 75 mins
Before the name Schocken was associated with the renowned publishing house, Salman Schocken was the king of department stores in Germany. Before WWII, he owned 22 stores with 6,000 employees. After being stripped of his citizenship and losing his empire, the family immigrated to Palestine, where he founded a modern, Jewish publishing house and acquired the Haaretz daily newspaper. Struggling to integrate into Israeli society, he left the country in 1940 and died in 1959. Through the publishing house and Haaretz, Schocken’s legacy survives.
Dwelling in Travelling
Sunday, November 21, 1:55pm
Director: Subha Das Mollick | India | 2020 | Documentary | English | 69 mins
In 1798, jeweller and trader Shalom Cohen arrived in Calcutta, India, paving the way for a diaspora Jewish community in the city. Baghdadi Jews traveled the sea routes from Basrah to Shanghai and settled in port cities along the way. Calcutta was one such centre for the Jewish population. This fascinating documentary explores the identity of a community that prospered in a country situated far from the persecution they had suffered across the Western world.
Sunday, November 21, 3:20pm
Caught in the Web
Director: Rona Segal | Israel | 2021 | Short/ Documentary | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 27 min
While Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis were able to successfully ban television and national Radio from their communities, they are losing the battle against the digital world. This revealing documentary analyzes how online culture has been gradually adopted by many factions of the Haredi community – fundamentally changing the fabric of Ultra-Orthodox society with surprising results.
Letters to God
Director: Yves Cohen | France / Israel | 2019 | Short / Drama | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 15 min
Since his daughter’s death, Moshe lives alone, rejecting his wife whom he blames for the tragedy. He accepts a job from the Jerusalem post office, unaware that it is for a very special division: The Department of Letters to God. Through these letters, Moshe faces humanity’s most private and sometimes fanciful wishes. A series of strange events will transform this non-believer and lead him to discover how the path to forgiveness can bring peace.
Director: Asaf Saban | Israel | 2021 | Short | Arabic / Hebrew / English Subtitles | 32 min
After years of living in Berlin, young Palestinian Ali lands in Israel for a home visit. Following a cold welcome at the airport, he decides to seek some peace and quiet on a short vacation in the Sinai Desert. When a group of young Israeli Jewish tourists mistakes him for one of them, Ali is forced to reflect on his true identity.
Director: Rob Cooper | USA | 2020 | Short / Documentary | English | 25 min
NASA’s first Jewish male astronaut, Dr Jeffrey Hoffman, brought the first Torah into space. This short explores the series of events leading up to that moment as well as the enduring meaning of Dr. Hoffman’s journey for Jews and non-Jews all over the world.
Director: Tomer Shushan | Israel | 2019 | Short / Documentary | Hebrew / English Subtitles | 21 min
While combing the city’s streets to find his precious white bicycle, Omer spots the stolen item locked up outside a building. As he tries to find a way to take it back, the new owner Yunes arrives. Before they know it, the police have become involved.
Sunday, November 21, 5:45pm
Director: Chen Shelach | Israel | 2020 | Documentary | English / Hebrew / Polish / English Subtitles | 70 mins
The flourishing area of Muranow in Warsaw was once a place of hardship and death – it housed the Warsaw ghetto. Today, it is a spacious green neighborhood built out from the rubble of the war. The Polish residents claim that Jewish ghosts live in Muranow and wander the streets they once lived in. Some believe the ghosts are literal – while others regard them in metaphorical terms, serving as a reminder of the life, culture and traditions of the Jewish people who are buried beneath the ground.
CLOSING NIGHT: Resistance
Sunday, November 21, 7:30pm
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz | UK / France / Germany / USA | 2020 | Biography / Drama / History | English / French / German / English Subtitles | 120 mins
*Warning: Mature content, violence
Aspiring actor Marcel Mangel would rather perform in Strasbourg’s cabaret clubs than chop meat like his father. However, when his cousin persuades him to help care for a group of rescued German orphans, his path changes. Marcel Mangel becomes Marcel Marceau as he joins the French Resistance and works with Boy Scouts to save the lives of hundreds of children. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Clémence Poésy, Resistance tells an incredibly inspiring story of courage – and the ability to laugh even amidst the unimaginable horrors of Nazi-occupied France.