New Voice

The Women’s Balcony, written by Shlomit Nehama and directed by Emil Ben-Shimon (Israel) 2016, begins with a tragic incident.

An accident in a Jerusalem synagogue during a bar mitzvah seriously injures the rabbi’s wife and traumatizes the rabbi. Damage to the building interior and destruction of the holy scroll displaces the congregation.

An attempt to hold prayer in a temporary location nearly fails before the arrival of a young rabbi and his students. However, the small Orthodox community is challenged by the stricter demands of the charismatic new cleric.

The most serious problem develops along the gender line, dividing women from men. As the situation worsens, there’s a showdown in which the wives stand united.

This charming dramatic comedy is currently playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinema, East 86th Street Cinema, and Quad Cinema in New York.

It opens 9 June 2017 at Harkins Shea 14, Scottsdale; Cobble Hill Cinemas, Brooklyn; and ShowRoom Cinema, Asbury Park.

Additional runs begin 16 June 2017 at the Clay Theatre, San Francisco; Camera 3 Cinemas, San Jose; Palace 17 Theater, Hartford; Bethesda Row Cinema, Washington; Siskel Film Center, Chicago; The Charles, Baltimore; and Edina Cinema, Minneapolis.

See www.menemshafilms.com for more information, including additional venues and dates.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Six Decades

The San Francisco International Film Festival celebrates its sixtieth anniversary 5 – 19 April 2017.

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I first attended half a century ago at the Masonic Auditorium on a student ticket I obtained with my ID from the Alliance Française in Paris. At thirty I wasn’t the oldest person in the balcony, where student ticketholders were seated. Presently I qualify for senior tickets.

The film festival changed venues over the years. I remember its long run at the Castro Theatre and subsequently the Palace Of Fine Arts Theater before moving to the Kabuki.

This year’s numerous San Francisco venues are: the Alamo Drafthouse, Castro Theatre, Dolby Cinema, Proxy, Roxie Theater, SFMOMA, Victoria Theatre, Walt Disney Family Museum, YBCA, and Vogue Theatre, as well as BAMPFA in Berkeley.

Mediterranean offerings include: Everything Else directed by Natalia Almada (Mexico/USA/France) 2016, Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge directed by Marie Noëlle (Germany/France/Poland) 2016, Mister Universo directed by Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel (Austria/Italy) 2016, Story of a 3-Day Pass directed by Melvin Van Peebles (France) 1967, The Death of Louis XIV directed by Albert Serra (France/Portugal/Spain) 2016, and The Wedding Plan directed by Rama Burshtein (Israel) 2016.

Contact San Francisco Film Society for more information and tickets.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Arab Film Fest 20

The twentieth annual Arab Film Festival opens soon in five California cities.

San Francisco 7 – 11 October 2016, Oakland 12 – 14 October 2016, Berkeley 15 – 16 October 2016, Los Angeles 21 – 23 October 2016, and San Diego 27 – 30 October 2016.

Clash directed by Mohamed Diab (Egypt) 2016 is the opening night film at the Castro Theatre. It will be preceded by a reception and followed by a party at Mercer featuring DJ Emancapacion. Subsequent San Francisco screenings will be at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.

Very Big Shot directed by Mir-Jean Bou Chaya (Lebanon) 2015 is the opening night film at Harmony Gold in Los Angeles. Iraqi Odyssey is the opening film at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.

This year’s festival includes narrative features, documentaries, and shorts from Egypt, France, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

It’s Complicated!

Family relationships can be difficult even in the best of times and adoptions present an added complexity to the situation.

it'scomplicated!

Wars disrupt the daily lives of everyone involved and this was especially true during World War II in Central Europe where millions of civilians were targeted for extermination.

Holocaust survivors were left with deep psychic scars that affected them throughout their lives.

Aida’s Secrets directed by Alon and Shaul Schwarz (Israel/United States/Germany/Canada) 2016 unveils a fascinating trail of secrets and lies.

The main part of the story involves the search and meeting for a brother whose very existence was kept secret from an adoptee for over sixty years. But this is only the beginning of a broader investigation to piece together the details of a truly complicated mystery.

The film screens again at San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 36 Friday 5 August 2016 at the Piedmont Theatre in Oakland.

For more information and tickets check the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Jewish & Gay

At the start of the HIV/AIDS pandemic 35 years ago, a positive diagnosis was a death sentence. Closeted gay men coming out to their families for the first time both as homosexual and infected with the dreaded virus often faced rejection from parents and died without parental understanding and comfort.

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Neither homophobia nor the disease has been entirely vanquished but society has adjusted somewhat to the existence of homosexuality and an extremely serious illness.

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? directed by Tomer and Barak Heymann (Israel/UK) 2015 is a documentary about a 39-year old, gay Israeli living in London who’s estranged from his religious family back home. He must come to terms with himself as well as bridge the gap between him and his family.

The film will screen three times during San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 36: Sunday 24 July 2016 at the CinEearts in Palo Alto, Saturday 30 July 2016 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and 31 July 2016 at the Roda Theatre in Berkeley.

More information and tickets available at Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Shared Dish

Hummus! The Movie directed by Oren Rosenfeld (USA/Israel) 2015 documents a popular Middle Eastern spread.

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Chickpeas (garbanzos) and tahini are the basic ingredients for a dish that probably originated in Egypt. But the Lebanese have strong claims to it.

It’s increasingly appreciated by people from the three major religious faiths in the area and increasingly enjoyed by a very diverse group of both locals and tourists.

Hummus has become an all consuming activity for a widow who took over her late husband’s restaurant, a religious calling for a spiritual seeker, and an adventure for someone unsatisfied with the established business passed on to him by his father.

The documentary hops around from one town to another in its quest for the culinary treat.

The film will be screened three times during the upcoming San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: Cinéarts, Palo Alto Square Saturday 23 July 2016, Castro Theatre, San Francisco Sunday 24 July 2016, and Piedmont Theatre, Oakland Friday 5 August 2016.

Contact Jewish Film Institute for more info and tickets.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

www.nikosdiaman.com

Lonely Hearts

A young, fiercely independent, autistic woman is the main character in Wedding Doll directed by Nitzan Gilady (Israel) 2015.

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She works in a small paper factory and designs dresses as well as makes dolls in her spare time. Hagit dreams of marrying some day and is courted by the factory owner’s son.

Her mother’s life revolves around the care and protection of Hagit. Her own needs and desires frequently deferred.

The impending closure of the factory changes everything. Difficult choices must be made and challenges overcome in this haunting, yet touching story.

The film opened 1 July 2016 at the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael and the Roxie in San Francisco. It screens 27 July 2016 at the Embassy of Israel/Avalon in Washington and 1 November 2016 at the Chicago Israel FF in Highland Park, IL.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

http://www.nikosdiaman.com