UK Jewish Film Festival

Over two weeks of dramas, comedys and documentaries that will make you think, laugh and cry starting November 4.

WITH our belts firmly tightened following the misery of last week’s spending review a night out at the pictures will be all a lot of us can afford.

Cue the UK Jewish Film Festival which kicks off next week with the Tricycle Theatre, in Kilburn, hosting more of its features, dramas, comedies and documentaries than ever before.

Trying to catch everything that appeals would require a fortnight off work but careful planning will give you a mind-opening experience to saviour.

However, founder and director, Judy Ironside, warned: “This year’s programme is our most provocative yet with an outstanding cast of speakers and presenters to bring what we see on the screen to life.”

In its 14th year, the festival opens with drama-thriller, The Debt, featuring Helen Mirren, on November 4, culminating with Israeli 60s drama, The Matchmaker, on November 21.

In between there will be 64 films and a host of events including a walking tour connecting the links between London’s Jewish writers, actors and producers and a one-day workshop for budding filmmakers.

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Many of the films will be followed by Q & A sessions with directors giving insight and background into the themes and making of their films.

A ‘gay-day’, featuring a film of the same name, will include a discussion exploring LGBT activism through filmmaking with gay-rights activist, Peter Tatchell, and Channel 4 news correspondent, Benjamin Cohen.

New segment, the Comedy Clash, will be just that; a two-day clash between serious comedy and serious issues.

First-up will be British Asian comedienne Shazia Mirza, and Sky Movies’, Josh Howie, exploring their cultures on November 9.

While David Baddiel will be joined by fellow comedians and actors, on November 15, for a discussion on comedy’s role in tackling racism and prejudice featuring clips from British productions The Infidel and Borat.

However, the Comedy Clash theme is personified in award-winning Israeli TV series, Arab Labour, on November 21.

Best described as The Office meets Curb Your Enthusiasm, the series follows an Arab-Israeli newspaper reporter, Amjad, who just wants a quiet life but, with foot in mouth and the scriptwriters comic genius, has anything but.

Of course, all this is set amid the backdrop of political and social tensions between Israeli Arabs and Jews resulting in excruciatingly painful humour at its best.

This festival of film, drawn from 16 countries, will make you think, laugh and cry while challenging you both socially and politically.

What better way to forget about draconian cuts.

Right, I’m off to the box-office.

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*Tickets available at box-office venues and their websites