San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 39, Week One

The first week of the festival looks back at notable movies, music, and more.

For its 39th big year of doing what it does, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival continues to do so with aplomb as it brings two weeks and change of delicious celluloid-cum-digital noshes to the Castro Theatre. Opening night kicks off full of life with Max Lewkowicz’s documentary Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, which looks at the long-running, much-adapted, never-not-joyful 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. In the Local spotlight is Ron Garver’s What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael, about the life and work of the famed New Yorker film critic. Afterward, there will be discussion at Spark Arts about “equity and inclusion” in film criticism featuring a panel consisting of three white, cisgender women. (That qualifies as inclusion by San Francisco film-community standards.)

One of the SFJFF’s more welcome trends in recent years is films exploring the connection between Jewish and Black culture, and a subset of that trend is the movies about the Blue Note record label. Last year was Sophie Huber’s Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, and the 2019 offering is Eric Fiedler’s It Must Schwing! The Blue Note Story, which again looks back on the seminal jazz label founded by a pair of Jewish refugees. Check back in 2020 for more Blue Note stories, maybe!

Opens Thursday at the Castro Theatre.


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