Greater Phoenix 2019 filmfest stresses ‘Greater’

Valerie Harper plays Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, in Golda’s Balcony.

By M.V. Moorhead

Now in its 23rd season, the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival is light on the Phoenix and heavy on the “greater.”

The annual showcase of “Great Films…with a little Jewish flavor” is spread across three venues around the Valley, none of them actually within the city limits of Phoenix.

The fest is held from Sunday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 24, at Harkins Park West in Peoria, Harkins Shea in Scottsdale, and, most convenient for moviegoers in the Kyrene Corridor, Harkins Tempe Marketplace.

Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights, with the Tempe location’s dates and showtimes:

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy  (Sunday, 2/10, 3 p.m.)— This documentary explores the Jewish contribution to Broadway shows and showtunes.

Golda’s Balcony: The Film (Monday, 2/11, 7 p.m.)— Valerie Harper plays Golda Meir in this one-woman film from William Gibson’s play.

The Cakemaker (Tuesday, 2/12, 7 p.m.)—Ofir Raul Grazier’s drama concerns a young baker who travels from Germany to Jerusalem after the death of his long-distance lover, and the revelations and tribulations that follow.

Rescue Bus 300 (Wednesday, 2/13, 7 p.m.)—Rotem Shamir directed this Israeli film, dramatizing the 1980 hijacking of a bus from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon by armed Palestinian terrorists.

Shoelaces (Thursday, 2/14, 7 p.m.)—Jacob Yankul Goldwasser directed this Israeli comedy-drama, also called Laces, about Jerusalem garage owner who must come to terms with the developmentally disabled son he abandoned years earlier.

A Bag of Marbles (Sunday, 2/17, 3 p.m.)—This French drama is the second film version of Un Sac de Billes, Joseph Joffo’s novel about two French Jewish boys fleeing the Nazis and occupied France.

Who Will Write Our History (Tuesday, 2/19, 7 p.m.)—Roberta Grossman’s documentary, with re-enactments, chronicles the Oneg Shabes archive, begun by historian Emanuel Ringelblum, in the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation in order to the preserve accounts of atrocities against the Jews.

Budapest Noir (Wednesday, 2/20, 7 p.m.)— Eva Gardos directed this Hungarian thriller, set in the title city in the 1930s and dripping with noir atmosphere.

The Last Suit (Thursday, 2/21, 7 p.m.)— Pablo Solarz wrote and directed this drama about a tailor, nearing 90 years old, who travels from Argentina to Poland to find the man who rescued him from death at Auschwitz.

Why the Jews? (Sunday, 2/24, 3 p.m.)— The oft-repeated cosmic question refers, in this Canadian documentary, to Jewish excellence; what are the keys to Jewish over-achievement?

Individual tickets are $11 online or by phone; $13 at the door. A festival pass to all films and venues is $150.

Go to or call 602-753-9366 for the full schedule and details.

M.V. Moorhead is the former film critic for Phoenix New Times. He contributes regularly to Phoenix Magazine and Wrangler News.



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