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“The idea of the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival isn’t just to provide Jewish entertainment for Jewish people—it’s to share Jewish culture with the broader population,” says the festival’s director, Joshua Abbey. In that spirit, here are four highlights from this year’s festival that are worth checking out for any film fan.
Coco Abbey calls this film a “balls-out comedy” and says, “I’d compare it to a Peter Sellers movie.” That’s pretty high praise for the LVJFF’s opening-night film, which was a big hit in Europe. It’s a French farce about a flamboyant man planning a lavish bar mitzvah for his son. January 15, 7 p.m., $25-$250. Cinemark Theaters Suncoast, 732-0304.
Saviors in the Night There are a lot of Holocaust movies in the LVJFF each year, and this one looks like it might be the best of that group for 2011. The opening movie of both the New York and San Francisco Jewish film festivals, it’s based on the memoir of a German Jew who was hidden with her family by Germans during World War II. Abbey says it “could be the most powerful film in the whole lineup.” January 23, 4 p.m., $10. Adelson Educational Campus Theater, 862-8600.
Seven Minutes in Heaven Abbey calls this movie “really, really well-directed,” and it takes an artistic and metaphysical approach to the difficult subject of terrorism in Israel, following the struggles of a young woman to put her life back together after surviving a suicide bombing. January 26, 7 p.m., $10. Cinemark Theaters South Point, 454-4848.
Howl The closing-night film of the LVJFF played at Sundance in 2010, and it features an inventive mix of narrative, animation and re-enactments in telling the story of poet Allen Ginsberg (played by James Franco) and his controversial epic poem Howl, whose publisher was put on trial for obscenity in 1957. Moderators will include local poet Bruce Isaacson, who studied with Ginsberg. January 30, 7:30 p.m., $10-$20. Brenden Theaters at the Palms, 732-0556.