Pick of the Jewish Film Festival crop 

The 27th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is ending its run in the Castro Theatre today, but it continues in Berkeley on Saturday through Aug. 4; in Palo Alto, Saturday through Aug. 2 and San Rafael, Aug. 4 through Aug. 6. It also returns to The City, to the Jewish Community Center, from Aug. 4 through Aug. 6.

Of the festival’s dozens of presentations — with varied subjects and different styles — here are brief reports of just four films scheduled to be shown again.

"MAKING TROUBLE: THREE GENERATIONS OF FUNNY JEWISH WOMEN"

Director Rachel Talbot brought four comediennes — Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney and Jessica Kirson — together in a Manhattan deli where they first lament that Carol Burnett, Phyllis Diller and Penny Marshall are NOT Jewish, and then discuss "funny Jewish women" — themselves and the likes of Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Wendy Wasserstein and Gilda Radner. Both an impressive documentary and a laugh riot, "Making Trouble" is truly a feel-good movie.

The movie screens at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley; 8:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Aquarius Theatre, 430 Emerson St., Palo Alto; and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael. It’s presented by the unusual alliance of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, Jewish Women’s Archive and Hadassah San Francisco.

"PRAYING WITH LIOR"

This film is funny, too, but you may find yourself laughing through tears — it’s a three-hanky film. Director Ilana Trachtman tells the moving real-life story of Lior, a lively, playful boy, who conquers the world along with his own Down Syndrome. Lior and his family — a rabbi and Lior’s three siblings — portray themselves in this memorable movie.

The film screens at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Aquarius in Palo Alto and 4:15 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Roda in Berkeley.

"WASTED"

Directed by TV producer Nurit Kedar, "Wasted" is an intense, somber documentary of Israeli soldiers who served in a constantly shelled fortress in southern Lebanon before Israel’s withdrawal from the area seven years ago. In a series of honest, nothing-withheld interviews, the weather- and war-beaten young men give an account of life at war that neither feature movies nor news accounts can provide. Never seeing the enemy shooting at them, not knowing why they must risk their lives for months without a break, the soldiers tell their stories, interspersed with performance scenes by the Bat Sheva Dance Company.

The film screens at 1:50 p.m. Saturday at the Roda in Berkeley and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Aquarius in Palo Alto.

"A TOUCH AWAY"

This contemporary Israeli TV series has elements of a high-class American soap and an intelligent BBC drama series. Eight 40-minute episodes will be shown over two days — with separate admission to each group of four — and chances are if you start watching, you will want to see them all.

The story is of two families — new immigrants from Russia and Orthodox Israelis — brought together in an apartment building, and the "forbidden love" between the daughter of the religious family, about to be forced into an arranged marriage, and Zorik, a secular 24-year-old from Russia. No Romeo and Juliet in Tel Aviv, "A Touch Away" provides deep insight into Israel’s divided society.

Part 1 of the series screens at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4 and 12:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St. Part 2 will be shown at 4 p.m. Aug. 5.

For the complete film festival schedule, visit www.sfjff.org. For tickets and information, call (925) 275-9490.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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