Defends Film Festival


This is in response to a letter in last week’s issue by a reader, Michael Lustig, who complained that the 2019 New York Jewish Film Festival didn’t seem to him very Jewish, based on the one film he saw that it seems had almost no Jewish content.

If one were to scan the descriptions of the films at the festival this year — still available on the website of the Film Society of Lincoln Center — one can see for oneself that nearly all the films deal with some aspect of Judaism, Jewish history, the Holocaust and World War II, and contemporary issues of life in Israel.

What I found fascinating and troubling is that, whether the organizers of the festival intended it or not, an overarching theme emerged of the plight of refugees and immigrants, and the torment of being displaced persons. As J. Hoberman commented in introducing the film, “Brussels Transit,” this is an urgent topic for our world today, and one certainly that the Jewish people can relate to very well.

I thank the 2019 New York Jewish Film Festival organizers for an excellent job this year.