Get inspired by watching stories of hardship and triumph come to life on the big screen this month.
The Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival is throwing their 39th annual Fall Festival with movie screenings at venues all over the city and in the suburbs starting this weekend. As one of the oldest Jewish film festivals in the world, this is your chance to see films from a wide range genres addressing important topics. Here are five films to see during the festival.
5 films to see during the The Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
The film version of the off Broadway play by the same name stars Tovah Feldshuh in a solo performance that captures even more on film than you would see live in a theater. “Golda’s Balcony” tells the story of Golda Meir as she reflects on her life shortly before her death. Meir’s life and career spanned countries as she emigrated from the Russian Empire, became a schoolteacher in Wisconsin and eventually an Israeli politician. The film is compiled with footage of Feldshuh’s stage performances in 2003. “Golda’s Balcony” holds a record as the longest-running one woman performance on Broadway.
Nov. 20, 2 p.m., National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S Independence Mall E, $6-15
Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People
Get to know the life and legacy of Joseph Pulitzer in this documentary that follows Pulitzer’s unlikely path to discovering the American dream. The now legendary journalist and newspaper publisher emigrated from Hungary and found his calling as a reporter after a series of hard labor jobs. He rose to prominence in St. Louis and purchased The New York World, which would solidify Pulitzer’s path to becoming a media mogul.
Nov. 13, 2 p.m., National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S Independence Mall E, $6-15
Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal
What happens when two comedians decide to eat their way through a midlife slump in their hometown? “Yidlife Crisis” web series creators Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman explore Montreal’s rich Jewish history by visiting the restaurants that have been serving their community for more than 100 years. The screening also includes the chance to mingle with other moviegoers during a bagel breakfast buffet (complete with mimosas) before the film.
Nov. 17, 10 a.m., National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S Independence Mall E, $25
There Are No Lions in Tel Aviv
See a documentary that tells the story of how a rabbi from Copenhagen became the “Rabbi Dolittle” of Tel Aviv. Max Shorenstein arrived in Israel with two bird cages and a love for exotic animals. After running a pet store out of his house, Shorenstein would open Tel Aviv’s first public zoo and dedicate himself to a lifelong cause of educating children about animals.
Nov. 17, 2 p.m., The Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St, Phoenixville, PA, $6-15
Standing Up, Falling Down
The festival concludes with a screening of a film about a failed stand-up comedian and a successful dermatologist forming an unlikely friendship after meeting in a bar. Billy Crystal (“When Harry Met Sally”, “Analyze This”) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec, “Night School”) star as a duo united by their flaws as they attempt to forge new paths. This dramedy explores what it takes to find the courage to face failure and make reparations. Slate Magazine Senior Editor Sam Adams joins this screening as a special guest.
Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut St., $15
Fall Fest 2019 runs from Nov. 9-23. Visit pjff.org to purchase individual screening tickets, festival passes and the full festival schedule.