A number of LGBT movies, including two screwball farces and an acclaimed documentary about a bisexual author, highlight the annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which kicks off tonight.
Established in 2000, the festival has grown to become not just the largest film festival in the city but the second biggest Jewish film festival in the country. The offerings for the 12th annual event, set for Feb. 8-29, are typically broad and plentiful.
More than 70 films will be shown over the three week period and screenings take place all over the city, including the Fox Theatre, Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station Stadium 16, Lefont Sandy Springs, Georgia Theatre Company Merchants Walk and new venues at United Artists Tara Cinemas 4 and United Artists North Point Market 8.
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Feb. 8-29 Various area locations 866-214-2072 www.ajff.org
“Let My People Go!” is a farce centering around a gay couple. Director Mikael Buch’s comedy finds Ruben (Nicolas Maury) and his boyfriend Teemu (Jarkko Niemi) living happily in Finland until a turn of events leaves postal delivery man Ruben with a bundle of cash on his hands.
Teemu tosses him out of the house and Ruben high-tails it to Paris, where he moves in with his Jewish family. It’s Passover and all kinds of chaos is taking place. Ruben’s brother has a temper, his sister has marriage issues, and Ruben himself is getting hit on by a closeted family member, also a Jewish community elder. Before long, some of the characters are behind bars.
The film sports a robust supporting cast, including Carmen Maura as the mother. Maura isn’t as uninhibited as she is in many of Pedro Almodovar’s films, but it’s fun to see her onscreen anytime.
The frothy “Let My People Go!” screens three times – Feb. 11 at 8:15 p.m. at Atlantic Station, Feb. 16 at 9:10 p.m. at Lefont Sandy Springs and Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the UA Tara.
Director Jonathan Lee’s “Paul Goodman Changed My Life” is a look at the poet/writer who was influential amongst the New York literary intellectual crowd. The documentary charts the career of the man who founded the New Left in the ‘60s and his influence on others.
Goodman was ironic in that he was a family man who was also openly bisexual, hanging out with the likes of Allen Ginsberg and writing poetry that left no question of who he was. Plenty of archival footage and interviews fill out the film.
“Paul Goodman Changed My Life” screens Feb. 12 at 7:40 p.m. at Atlantic Station and Feb. 29 at 1:30 p.m. at the UA Tara.
The biggest box office hit in Israel in 25 years is “This is Sodom,” a biblical farce taking place in the final days of Sodom that received five Israeli Academy Award nominations. Directed by Adam Sanderson and Muli Segev, it features members of Eretz Nehederet, the Israeli version of “Saturday Night Live.” Apparently it skewers everything from religion to game shows to reality TV and musicals and has some LGBT content and men in drag.
It screens Feb. 10 at 2:40 p.m.at Atlantic Station, Feb. 13 at 9:05 p.m. at Lefont Sandy Springs, Feb. 23 at 9:15 p.m. at Merchants Walk and Feb. 24 at 2:20 p.m. at the UA Tara.
For lesbian viewers, the short “Through the Window” finds a closeted young woman having to deal with the fact that she loves another woman as time for a Shabbat dinner comes up. It screens as part of Shorts Program 3 on Feb. 24 at 12:15 p.m. at the UA Tara and again at Merchants Walk on Feb. 26 at 11:00 am.
In addition to the LGBT fare, the festival features two prominent 30th anniversary screenings sure to be popular with viewers: “Dirty Dancing” with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze and “Sophie’s Choice” with Oscar winner Meryl Streep.
Top photo: In ‘Let My People Go!’ chaos ensues when gay postal worker Ruben moves from Finland to Paris to live with his Jewish family. (Publicity photo by David Koskas)