Dear JFI Friends and Family,
As Mr. Rogers once said, “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.” In this week’s program we present two personal docs where its subjects investigate their muddled family histories and in doing so find clarity and truth about who they really are; plus a fictional short based on a very factual occurrence shrouded in secrecy. So Sherlock, put on your detective cap and delve into our aptly titled program Secrets & Lies.
Until next week.
Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director
Joshua Moore, Programmer
Margherita Ghetti, Next Wave Programmer
Here is a clip from the film that inspired the title of this week’s program, SECRETS & LIES by British (and Jewish) director Mike Leigh. This scene has actors Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Brenda Blethyn, who were both nominated for Academy Awards for their roles. If you’ve never seen this film we highly recommend it.
Little White Lie (SFJFF 2014)
Daring to ask questions about her true identity, around which her parents had kept a careful silence through her entire childhood, filmmaker Lacey Schwartz gently but firmly pulls back the curtain on matters of race and family secrets in her deeply personal and fascinating documentary. Little White Lie (SFJFF 2014) manages to be both a particular family’s story of the price of living in denial, but also raises larger questions for us all: What factors — race, religion, family, upbringing — make us who we are? And what happens when we are forced to redefine ourselves?
Aida’s Secrets (SFJFF 36)
Family secrets, lies, high drama and generations of contemporary history unspool in the documentary detective film Aida’s Secrets (SFJFF 2016) that begins with World War II and concludes with an emotional 21st-century family reunion. Izak was born inside the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp in 1945 and sent for adoption in Israel. Secret details of his birth mother Aida and his father’s true identity slowly emerge in this extremely personal film. Timely questions of identity, resilience, compassion and the plight of displaced persons are brought to life as Izak searches for truth.
Tzniut (SFJFF 2014, JFI Online Shorts), from the Hebrew meaning “modesty or privacy; the laws pertaining to a modest life” provides a dash of darkly tragic irony as the title to this captivating and enigmatic short film. Set in Brooklyn, a Hasidic woman limited by her social standing in her community seeks the origin of her recently discovered illness.
Looking for more secrets to uncover? Check out this list of nine superb films that explore the tangled roots of family trees:
Shhh: 9 Movies about Family Secrets
When Lacey Schwartz applied to Georgetown at age 18, she left the "racial identity" box unchecked, but did submit a…
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