It’s that time of year again. When buttered popcorn wafts from the Coolidge Corner Theater and the Brookline streets are abuzz with neighbors swapping cinematic stories. That’s right, the Boston Jewish Film Festival is back, screening films all over the city November 7-19. This year the festival is packed with movies, meet-and-greets, panels, and a gala opening, all in celebration of the BJFF’s 30th Anniversary. Here’s what you can expect to find at the Coolidge.

93 Queen

Monday, November 12, 6:30 pm

Presented in partnership with the Boston Women’s Film Festival, this documentary follows Rachel “Ruchie” Freier, a lawyer and mother of six. Freier is making waves in her ultra-orthodox community by creating a volunteer group of female EMTs, an alternative to the traditionally male Jewish volunteer ambulance corps. The community isn’t happy, but Freier believes it’s worth it.

Budapest Noir

Tuesday, November 13, 8:45 pm

Thursday, November 15, 1 pm

In the Budapest of the 1930s, a crime reporter dives into the city’s underbelly, where powerful players are beginning to align themselves with Hitler. This moody murder mystery will keep you guessing until the very end. The November 15 screening is sponsored by Center Communities of Brookline and both screenings will be followed by a conversation with director Éva Gárdos.

The City Without Jews

Wednesday, November 14, 6:30 pm

This dynamic silent film, presented in partnership with the Coolidge Corner Theater’s “The Sound of the Silents” program, will be accompanied by live music by composer and performer Jeff Rapsis. The 1924 film begins with the election of an anti-Semitic chancellor who expels the city’s Jews and evolves into a narrative strangely prescient about the Holocaust.


Thursday, November 8, 9 pm

In this sneak peek screening the protagonist Avner becomes suspicious when he finds a photo of his wife with another man. Thinking she’s having an affair, he begins recording her phone conversations and watching her daily actions more closely. The more he watches the more he realizes he doesn’t really know his wife at all.

The Hero

Wednesday, November 14, 1 pm

An unsettling thriller based on a book, this film follows Sarah Silverstein who has moved her family back to the Netherlands to spend time with her elderly parents. The family quickly becomes the target of strange, anti-Semitic incidents. While Sarah searches for answers about who is attacking them and why she uncovers dark secrets about her parents’ past.

In Her Footsteps

Tuesday, November 13, 6:15 pm

Rana’s parents fled their Bedouin village for a nearby Jewish town years ago. As Rana’s mother fights a terminal illness, she asks to be buried in that town. What should be a simple dying request becomes complicated as Rana’s parents’ Arab traditions clash with their current Israeli setting.

In Our Son’s Name

Friday, November 9, 12 pm

This documentary tells the incredible story of Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez. When their son was killed on September 11 they were devastated. But instead of getting angry they began a long process of reconciliation and healing, which included a strong friendship with the mother of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez and Julia Rodriguez.

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Wednesday, November 7, 7 pm

Sammy Davis Jr. is known for his legendary music career despite the racial persecution he faced. Fewer people know that he converted to Judaism, identifying himself with another minority group. This documentary delves into that transition and the effect it had on Davis’s life. The screening will be followed by a conversation with director Samuel D. Pollard and preceded by a live performance by Cara Campanelli and Alex Olsen.

To Dust

Thursday, November 15, 9:30 pm

When the wife of Hasidic cantor Shmuel in upstate New York dies he becomes obsessed with the way her body will decay post-mortem. In an effort to understand this process he seeks out a biology professor (played by Matthew Broderick). The two embark on an unlikely adventure, and friendship, to help Shmuel find peace.

Who Will Write Our History

Sunday, November 11, 7 pm

In 1940, shortly after the Nazis sealed the Warsaw Ghetto, a brave group of leaders called the Oyneg Shabes put together pictures and testimonies of the Holocaust and buried them.  “Who Will Write Our History” brings the Oyneg Shabes archive to life in documentary form with rarely seen interviews and footage. The screening will be followed by a conversation with director Roberta Grossman.

Working Woman

Thursday, November 8, 6:30 pm

Things get complicated for Orna when her boss at the real estate job she loves begins to make inappropriate advances on her. As the primary breadwinner for three children, Orna’s options are limited, but moving forward with the job could destroy her. The screening will be followed by a conversation with attorney Michal Gera Margaliot and Judith Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive.

by Celina Colby