Celebrating its 13th year, the Houston Jewish Film Festival continues to screen entertaining and inspiring Jewish and Israeli pictures by contemporary filmmakers as they showcase their acclaimed works at the annual event on March 11-12 at the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. Audiences can expect an emotional journey through these gripping, award-winning tales, exploring everything from the Holocaust to modern-day Israel. Not sure what to watch? We shared our must-see list below.
Beyond the Mountains and Hills
Saturday, March 11 at 6
Beyond the Mountains and Hills follows the Greenbaums, a seemingly normal Israeli family with a veteran father, a high school-teaching mother, a rebellious daughter and ordinary teenage son. However, things unravel when a mid-life crisis, teenage angst and all-around disillusionment consumes their lives. Directed by Eran Kolirin—best known for The Band’s Visit (2007)—Beyond the Mountains and Hills was, rightfully so, nominated for Best Film at the Ophir Awards (aka the Israeli Oscars) and screened at the Festival de Cannes in 2016.
Saturday, Mar 11 at 8
From acclaimed director Avi Nesher, Past Life follows sisters Sephi, a classical composer, and Nana, an investigative journalist, who set out to unveil their father Dr. Beruch Milch’s wartime experiences in Poland. Their secret mission is complicated by an encounter with German conductor Thomas Zielinski, whose mother believes Dr. Milch is a murderer.
Sunday, Mar 12 at 1
This docudrama follows the true story of 12-year-old Fanny who leads a group of Jewish children across occupied France during World War II. The beautiful cinematography by Pierre Cottereau captures their harrowing journey to Switzerland, where they would experience both betrayal and protection.
Presenting Princess Shaw
Sunday, Mar 12 at 3
This uplifting documentary starts in an unexpected location, New Orleans, as it traces and celebrates the unlikely musical connection between U.S. singer Samantha Montgomery, known as Princess Shaw on YouTube, and Israeli composer and multimedia artist Kutiman. After a career characterized by defeat and disappointment, Princess Shaw shines in an exhilarating performance in Israel—all captured by director Ido Haar.
$10 for each screening. Brown Auditorium at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. 713-639-7531. mfah.org/films