JxJ – the Washington Jewish Film and Music Festival – returns from May 12-22 with a full lineup of over 60 DC-premiere films from 15 countries, alongside 10 concerts with musicians hailing from Israel, Canada, Ethiopia and the US.
The Festival opens with Aurélie Saada’s mesmerizing Venice Film Festival winner ROSE, which revolves around a performance from screen legend Françoise Fabian. ROSE is a bright crowd-pleaser that reminds us that it’s never too late to find fulfillment.
The closing night film GREENER PASTURES is the top Israeli comedy of the year; its charming story centers on a nursing home resident who gets a new lease on life as a cannabis dealer. GREENER PASTURES garnered 12 Israeli Academy Award nominations and features a who’s-who of Israeli star talent.
JxJ 2022 concludes with the concert JEW OF OKLAHOMA, presented by the larger-than-life troubadour Mark Rubin, who blazes through genres ranging from country, western swing, bluegrass, Cajun, Tex-Mex, polka, and klezmer to redefine the sound of Jewish music.
Three outstanding films are presented as Centerpiece programs: CAROL OF THE BELLS, a powerful and timely film from Ukrainian filmmaker Olesya Morgunets-Isaenko which deals with themes of unity during wartime; CINEMA SABAYA, whose moving tale of a joint Jewish and Arab filmmaking workshop in Israel precedes an in-depth conversation with filmmaker Orit Fouks Rotem and actor Joanna Said about the lives of Arab Citizens of Israel; and FOUR WINTERS: A Story of Jewish Partisan Resistance and Bravery in WWII, which will feature a post-screening conversation with filmmaker Julia Mintz.
“We’re ecstatic to return to in-person presentations of the best in Jewish and Israeli cinema and music” said Ilya Tovbis, Artistic and Managing Director of JxJ. “At its beating heart, our mission is to foster community through the arts, to create space for people to connect, and to celebrate the full breadth of the Jewish experience together—there’s really no virtual substitute for being in the same place at the same time. Basking in the glow of a great movie or tapping your toes along with a re-imagined but centuries-old Jewish song is exponentially better when done with friends and community than when experienced alone – the need for human connection and the role great art plays in it has never been more evident than after the last few years.”
Popular JxJ programming strands return, including the queer cinema series Rated LGBTQ and the music-focused cinema strand BEATSxJ. New to the lineup is a focus on Jews of Color, with stories and sounds emanating from the global Jewish diaspora as well as closer to home.
In addition to the closing night performance, a few of the concert highlights include the triumphant DC return of homegrown alternative pop rock group BETTY, Eleanor Reissa teaming up with Paul Shapiro’s Ribs & Brisket to perform the music of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and the “Mad Wizard of Yiddish hip-hop” Socalled.
Tickets and passes to the Festival are available at JxJDC.ORG.