Winter Journey

My Polish Honeymoon directed by Élise Otzenberger (France) 2018 was the opening night film in Palo Alto of the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.


When Anna first arrives in Poland, with her husband Adam, she’s totally in love with the country but taking a closer look at her surroundings, her mood changes in the opposite extreme.

The reason for their trip is a 75th celebration of his grandfather’s Jewish village, a rather somber event in a country with a horrific World War II history.

In Prague they’re assailed by the sight of colorful tourist tours of death camps as well as Nazi memorabilia for sale at an outdoor market.

While in the countryside and small rural villages they’re met with indifference, suspicion, and hostility.

This complex film also played at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and will be shown a couple more times during SFJFF 39. It screens 30 July 2019 at the Albany Twin in the East Bay and 4 August 2019 at Smith Rafael in Marin.

For more info and tickets contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved



Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles directed by Max Lewkowicz (USA) 2019 is the opening night film of San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 39 screening Thursday 18 July 2019 at the Castro Theatre.


The Red Sea Diving Resort directed by Gideon Raff (USA) 2019 is the closing night film at the Castro Theatre Sunday 28 July 2019.

More relevant feature films at this year’s festival are Abe directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade (USA) 2019; My Polish Honeymoon directed by Élise Otzenberger (France) 2018; and Army Of Lovers In The Holy Land directed by Asaf Galay (Israel) 2018.

For more information and tickets contact Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved


The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 37 takes place 20 July –  6 August 2017 at five Bay Area venues.

The six films I plan to see this year at the Castro Theatre are: A Quiet Heart (Israel), Bobbi Jene (Denmark/Israel/United States), Mr. Predictable (Israel), Personal Affairs, (Israel), Planetarium (France/Belgium), and The Young Karl Marx (France/Germany/Belgium).

Other works from Mediterranean countries include: Avanti Popolo (Israel), Ben-Gurion, Epilogue (Israel/France), Death In The Terminal (Israel), Fanny’s Journey (France), and Harmonia (Israel).

Also: Home Port (Israel), In Between (Israel/France), More Alive Than Dead (Israel), The 90 Minute War (Israel/Germany), and Your Honor (Israel).

For more information and tickets contact Jewish Film Institute.

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

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 for more information, including additional venues and dates.

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

City Edge

Papa Was Not A Rolling Stone directed by Sylvie Ohayon (France) 2014 is an autobiographical coming–of-age narrative feature.


It’s set in a suburb outside of Paris where the poor, immigrants, and other marginal populations are warehoused in large, ugly, neglected, high-rise buildings. Typical of the neighborhood where youths rioted a decade ago.

Stephanie, is a bright, talented teenager who lives with her neurotic mother and abusive stepfather.

Despite tremendous odds she’s determined to escape her circumstances in order to build a better future for herself.

The film screens again at the California Theatre in Berkeley Tuesday night 4 August 2015 and the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael Sunday evening 9 August 2015 as San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 35 moves outside of San Francisco.

For more information and tickets contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

Hidden Moments

Kisses To The Children directed by Vassilis Loules (Greece) 2011 reveals the personal stories of five Jewish children who were hidden in Christian homes during the WWII German occupation of Greece. They and some members of their family survived the death camps where millions of others died.


The film is a testimony to the bravery and compassion of a few who risked their own safety to save the less fortunate among them. Most of the Jewish population perished. While Kisses To The Children is a powerful work, it contains redundancy and unnecessary repetition of testimony and image.

It’s difficult to watch because of all the suffering these five people and the others who managed to endure during that monstrous time. Anti-Semitism still remains a problem in many countries including Greece. I don’t know what it will take to improve the situation for Jews and other persecuted minorities.

The San Francisco Greek Film Festival continues through Sunday 19 May 2013. More info at

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved