An array of films featuring talent in multiple roles both in front of and behind the camera populate this month's picks, which also feature a new documentary and a new classic, its subject matter as topical as ever.
This black comedy, the latest from writer and director Taika Waititi, brings his signature style of humor and pathos that follows a lonely German boy whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo confronts his blind nationalism. The film recently won the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Video on Demand
A Tale of Love and Darkness
Natalie Portman's directorial debut is based on Amos Oz's acclaimed memoir. The Israeli writer is considered by many as the country's greatest living author. The film covers his early life growing up in 1940s Jerusalem, his relationship with his mother (played by Portman, who steps in front of the camera as well), and his beginnings as a journalist and novelist. After optioning the film rights to the book, Portman took eight years to write the script adaptation and secure funding.
Set in the 1950s, a star quarterback is given the chance to attend an elite preparatory school. To fit in, he hides that he is Jewish but when the truth is revealed, so is the character of the classmates he considered his friends. Entertainment Weekly featured, for the film's 25th anniversary in 2017, an in-depth interview with the film's filmmakers and cast, consider by all still relevent today.
Blu-Ray & DVD
Mike Wallace is Here
This documentary, which relies solely on archival footage, is as much about the venerated Jewish former 60 Minutes reporter as it is about the evolution of broadcast journalism. The well-received film premiered recently at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Other Story
Complications arise when a dysfunctional Israeli family tries to lure their willful daughter away from Orthodox Judaism, in this drama from acclaimed filmmaker Avi Nesher. Sensitively exploring the religious-secular divide, this universal tale of broken relationships and forgiveness masterfully weaves its many threads with poignant, gently humorous performances by a stellar cast. Nesher joined AJFF for the Atlanta premiere of the film at the 2019 AJFF.