Although it caters mainly to a specific audience, the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival (now in its 14th year) offers a great chance for anyone interested in foreign and documentary films to catch movies that otherwise would never play in Las Vegas. Festival director Joshua Abbey, one of the original co-founders of CineVegas, curates a thoughtful lineup of movies related to Jewish history and culture.
Abbey especially recommends two screenings at this year’s festival: The documentary Jerusalem (January 10, 7 p.m., Brenden Theatres at the Palms) is a tour through the namesake city as seen through the eyes of three women (one Jewish, one Christian, one Muslim). Director Daniel Ferguson will be on hand to talk about the film. The Israeli dark comedy The Farewell Party (January 11, 3:30 p.m., Adelson Educational Campus), about a group of retirees who build their own self-euthanasia machine, is one of only three narrative films in this year’s festival. It played both the Venice and Toronto film festivals last year.
Other festival highlights include Holocaust documentary Night Will Fall (January 15, 7 p.m., Century South Point), which incorporates footage from an incomplete Alfred Hitchcock project; The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (January 18, 1 p.m., Adelson Educational Campus), a French screwball comedy from 1973; and Beneath the Helmet (January 25, 3:30 p.m., Adelson Educational Campus), a documentary about young Israeli soldiers, one of whom will speak at the screening. As always, the diverse slate is impressive for a festival of any kind, and it deserves an audience of film lovers beyond just the Jewish community.
Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival January 10-25, days, times and locations vary, $10 per screening. lvjff.org.