The JCC’s Lenore Marwil Detroit Jewish Film Festival — all cinema on the big screen, for that matter — thrives not just as reason to leave the house, but as a means of transportation itself.
Entertaining and engaging local audiences since 1998, this year’s festival travels to Israel, the Czech Republic, Spain, Ethiopia and beyond. Multiple screenings bring the lights up and the experience live through panel discussions or multimedia performance.
And, for those of us whose young children, elderly pets, listless evenings or restless legs keep them from the sneaking away to the silver screen, there’s trailers. Glorious trailers. As the name suggests, trailers once humbly followed the movie — before migrating to the top of the ticket and, arguably, transcending feature filmmaking as a medium.
A good preview can make you forget what movie you showed up to see in the first place. Some make promises their full-length versions can’t keep. Others blow the dust off old film reels and transport them across genres.
To be clear, you should go — in person and on time — to the Detroit Jewish Film Festival. The staff and volunteers consumed untold quantities of Junior Mints in the process of finding fine films for filling a festive fortnight.
And turn off your phone. Not just the ringer. All the way off. That’s better.
You also have Dexter’s permission to enjoy these trailers like a Costco sample, free from the guilt of forgoing or strain of committing to the 27-pound bucket of macaroni and cheese.
And if one of them doesn’t grab you right away, it probably just needs more Solsbury Hill.
The Samuel Project
The Samuel Project: “Eli gets to know his grandfather Samuel for the first time when he makes him the subject of an animation project for school. With dreams of becoming an artist, Eli discovers how Samuel was, as a boy, heroically saved from the Nazis.”
Dexter’s Trailer Take: This trailer has everything — inter-generational tension, inter-generational bonding, inter-cultural slang sharing, a butcher, a long-haired loner who claims he’s “not really looking for friends.”
Actor Ryan Ochoa is no stranger to overcoming hardship, having survived a recurring role on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and 67 episodes of a Disney Channel show in which he tries to thwart his fraternal twin teenage cousins who have leapfrogged him in succession to rule a fictitious Pacific island nation.
YidLive! “Join Jamie & Eli, the creators and stars of the award-winning Yiddish-ish web series YidLife Crisis — in the fleisch! The boychiks from Montreal present an evening of comedy, film and music reflecting their unique take on the modern Jewish experience. No knowledge of Yiddish required. Sense of humor requested. Appropriate for ages 21 – 118.”
Dexter’s Trailer Take: This isn’t a trailer, per se, though it works well as a teaser for Jamie and Eli’s return to Detroit for a live performance on Wednesday, May 8, at Ridley’s Comedy Castle. More importantly, the webisode features our very own JKatz, Rabbi Silverman and Pastor Hines.
Ben Falik partook in a schvitz with YidLife Crisis when they were in town last year. They are good guys — just about the funniest French Canadian Jewish duo he’s ever met — and they have a real libshaft for Detroit. While the evening at Ridley’s won’t be as sweaty, it will at least be less sweaty.
Mr. and Mrs. Adelman
Mr. and Mrs. Adelman: “For more than 45 years, Sarah and Victor have been together. How did they do it? Who is Sarah, this enigmatic woman always in the shadow of her husband? Love, ambition and secrets feed this unusual couple’s odyssey. Awarded the Cesar Award for Best Actress and Best First Feature Film.”
Dexter’s Trailer Take: If you push play and notice there is a problem loading, remove the cartridge, blow forcefully in the slot and return to playing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
If the issue is with the trailer above, do not despair — Ronnie Rocket confirms “Psst, YOU FORGOT THE SUBTITLES!” His fellow Youtube commenters seems split on the movie. From England, “a rollercoaster of emotions, the ups and downs and laughter and tears.. wow just wow!!! Thank you, Nicolas, for making this beauty! Such a beautiful story!”
By way of retort, Денис Бельский parries, “Please, make less movies.”
While the trailer is entirely compelling en français, the award-winning film will indeed have subtitles throughout. And, one presumes, at least as much bottomless vacuuming.
Fractures: “Oded, a renowned professor and scientific researcher, is on his way to receiving a prestigious award, accompanied by his wife Merav. A call comes in from the police, asking him to stop by to answer a few questions. In an instant, their world crumbles. Noa, a graduate student of his, has accused him of sexual coercion. The film takes place in a single day, where the family’s life comes apart.”
Dexter’s Trailer Take: And you thought you were having a rough Monday, Garfield! This Israeli take on the Great Man Theory colliding with the #metoo movement makes for a riveting preview. And Stan Erivan’s “Love Is A Game” — enigmatic even after extensive internet sleuthing — is now officially Dexter Davison’s second favorite trailer track.
Trailing right behind…
Gratitude to the film festival staff, volunteers, partners and patrons. Check out the full line-up, no spoilers, and seriously with the phones.
Dexter Davison is the nom de plume of local writer and nonprofiteer Ben Falik.