WESTFIELD, NJ — The JCC will host ITS 12th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Central NJ at the Rialto Theater 250 East Broad St., Westfield, beginning its Spring 2017 series on Wednesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.

On the Map

Wednesday, April 19 • 7:30 p.m.

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Director: Dani Menkin

Country: Israel, 2015

Language: English and Hebrew with subtitles

Running Time: 78 minutes

Through the of lens of sports, this documentary presents a broad story of how one team captured the heart of a nation amidst domestic turmoil and the global machinations of the Cold War. On the Map is the against-all-odds story of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 1977 European Championship, which took place at a time when the Middle East was still reeling from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1972 Olympic massacre at Munich, and the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv.   

The film recounts how an underdog Israeli basketball team prevailed over a series of European basketball powers including CSKA Moscow (known in the West as “Red Army”), a team that repeatedly refused to compete against Israeli competitors. Moments after this highly charged and historic win, Israeli-American basketball hero Tal Brody became an indelible part of a young country's history when he famously said, “Israel is on the map, not just in sport, but in everything.”  Told through the eyes of six American basketball players who joined Maccabi and helped the club defeat top teams from Spain, Italy and the Soviet Union, the film features interviews with basketball icon Bill Walton (who had a unique personal connection to Brody) and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.  

On the Map combines the pulse-pounding action of a high-stakes thriller with an incendiary political backdrop to deliver a film that will mesmerize basketball fans and captures the spirit of a nation triumphant against all odds. On the Map also features incisive interviews with, among others, Michael Oren, Israel's former Ambassador to the United States, and Natan Sharansky, a notable Israeli politician who spent years imprisoned in Soviet jails.

The Women’s Balcony

Tuesday, April 25 • 7:30 p.m.

Director: Emil Ben-Shimon

Country: Israel, 2016

Language: Hebrew

Running Time:  96 minutes

An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gender rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem, in this rousing, good-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power. 

When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. Charismatic young Rabbi David appears to be a savior after the accident, but slowly starts pushing his fundamentalist ways and tries to take control. This tests the women’s friendships and creates an almost Lysistrata-type rift between the community’s women and men.

Fanny’s Journey

Wednesday, May 3 • 7:30 p.m.

Directed: Lola Doillon

Country: France/Belgium, 2016

Language: French

Running Time: 94 minutes

Based on a true story, Fanny's Journey is an incredible tale of bravery, strength and survival, a story of a daring young girl who will stop at nothing and fear no one. In 1943, 13-year-old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children.

When the Nazis arrive in Italy, their caretakers desperately organize the departure of the children to Switzerland. Suddenly left on their own, these 11 children will do the impossible to reach the Swiss border in order to survive.

Moos

Monday, May 8 • 7:30 p.m.

Director: Job Gosschalk

Country: Netherlands, 2016

Language: Dutch

Running Time: 91 minutes

It is Hanukkah evening and everything is the way it has always been for Moos except one thing – her longtime childhood friend, Sam, has arrived as a surprise guest from Israel. With Sam back, Moos realizes her life has been on hold, and she needs to follow her own dreams. To everyone’s surprise, she auditions for the academy of performing arts.

Despite the encouragement from the handsome singing teacher Chris, Moos quickly learns that not everybody is as receptive to her talents, and she might need an option B. Meanwhile, Sam starts to realize his feelings for Moos may not have faded over the years. 

A Grain of Truth

Tuesday, May 16 ∙ 7:30 p.m.

Director: Borys Lankosz

Country: Poland, 2015

Language: Polish with subtitles

Running Time: 110 minutes

A maverick prosecutor finds himself dragged into the investigation of a string of ritual killings rooted in Poland’s anti-Semitic past in this suspenseful detective thriller. Once the star of the Warsaw prosecutors’ office, Teodor Szacki (Polish Academy Award-winning actor Robert Więckiewicz) has ended his career and marriage to start a new life in a sleepy southeast Polish town. Seen as an outsider by the close-knit community, he faces suspicion when called in to get to the bottom of the brutal murder of a well-known social activist – her body discovered outside a former synagogue.

As the trail of victims grows and the killer remains elusive, clues point to a mysterious connection with historical myths of blood libel. Aided by a veteran police detective, reluctant female prosecutor and local rabbi, Teodor must unravel the painful tangle of Polish-Jewish relations and solve the enigmatic case while facing a rising tide of public and media hysteria.   Based on the bestselling novel, A Grain of Truth is a masterfully constructed whodunit that pits the forces of enlightenment against monstrous primeval superstitions.

The Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey is located at 1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains, NJ, (908) 889-8800. 

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