The second week of this year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival continues to provide fascinating new looks into age-old themes. After last week’s Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, this week’s offering in the festival’s black•ish / jew•ish spotlight exploring the intersection between the two cultures is Sam Pollard’s documentary Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me. Davis, Jr. is a performer whose life only gets more fascinating with each passing decade, and Pollard looks at the many contradictions he embodied, being a Black man who converted to Judaism and bore the brunt of racist jokes from Sinatra in the Rat Pack, while eventually supporting noted bigot and anti-Semite Richard Nixon.
In Astrid Schult’s narrative chamber drama Winter Hunt, a young woman feigns a car accident on a dark night to make her way into the home of an aging Auschwitz guard and his adult daughter — but getting the former Nazi to admit to his crimes proves even more challenging than she expected. And while the SFJFF doesn’t yet have a Virtual Reality component like many other festivals, Winter Hunt is preceded by a thematically relevant short documentary Nazi VR, which looks at how a virtual re-creation of Auschwitz was used in the trial of real-life former SS guard Reinhold Hanning.
Now Playing at the Castro Theatre.