38th Annual Jewish Film Fest

This year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival explores varied facets of Jewish life in 67 features, documentaries, shorts and a special sidebar on the feminist film movement that spotlights women in front of and behind the camera. Here are a few highlights:

The Fourth Estate


Veteran documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus’ “The Fourth Estate” is a four-chapter, backstage series that examines the inner workings of the New York Times newsroom. It follows harried journalists trying to keep up during the tumultuous first year of the Trump administration.  Read the full story in our July/August issue.

Budapest Noir


The fictional protagonist of “Budapest Noir” is a very different breed of newspaperman. An adaptation of the 2008 Hungarian best-seller by Vilmos Kondor, Eva Gardos’ moody thriller, set in 1930s Hungary on the precipice of fascism, revolves around a cynical crime reporter investigating the death of a mysterious woman. His crusade to uncover her identity takes him on a journey through the seedy world of brothels, smoke-filled clubs and underworld haunts.  See more in our July/August issue.


The Waldheim Waltz


Thirty years ago, Ruth Beckermann, the Austrian director of “The Waldheim Waltz,” was an activist on the streets of Vienna, portable video camera in hand, protesting the presidential candidacy of former U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. Shortly before the vote, the World Jewish Congress released information that exposed Waldheim’s involvement in the 1942 Nazi deportation of 56,000 Jews from Greece and the massacre of Yugoslavian fighters. Revisiting her old material in 2013 with a group of young people, coupled with the rise of right-wing populist leaders like Austria’s current vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, and the resurgence of “all the ugly emotions in Europe, including anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamism,” prompted Beckermann to make this film, a personal essay featuring her 1986 footage intercut with newsreels and television coverage from the period.  More in our July/August issue.

See our July/August issue for more about the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and other summer arts events in San Francisco and the Bay Area.