SF Jewish Film Festival Exudes a Sense of Responsibility

by Michael Fox

Sometimes a movie is just a movie, to appropriate the one-liner apocryphally attributed to Sigmund Freud. (“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” actually sounds to my ears more like something another Jewish intellectual, Groucho Marx, would have said. But I digress.) As far as the typical filmgoer is concerned, movies are stories, diversions, entertainment and, on rare and special occasions, art. But for a great swath of movies, even some produced by Hollywood studios (credo: “Profits first, last and always”), palpable moral consciousness is as central as the plot. To those of us who esteem cinema as a social good, those films are often the most exciting and profound.  Continue reading

SFJFF Berkeley Big Night: THE STURGEON QUEENS

by Joyce Goldstein

The Sturgeon Queens (2014) is a charming paean to the Russ & Daughters appetizer store on the Lower East Side of NYC, now celebrating its hundred-year anniversary. The story is told by many different voices: three generations of the Russ family; celebrity patrons of the store such as Calvin Trillin, Maggie Gyllenhal, Mario Batali and Ruth Bader Ginsberg; and narrated by long-time customers who read from a script written by director Julie Cohen.

Continue reading