Fall is the season of great reads! J-Flix helps you enjoy the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature with these titles that celebrate great writers and their work.
TJFF’s staff have selected these six titles for you to enjoy from home. So grab your popcorn and start streaming!
J-Flix is an initiative of the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation showcasing the rich legacy of films from Canada’s leading presenter of Jewish-content film for 27+ years. Currently, over 135+ curated titles are available for streaming (for free!) including documentaries, feature length narratives, shorts, along with beloved archival films, all of which represent the global flavour of TJFF programming.
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57 mins | Israel | 2014
Director: Yair Qedar
Famed poet Chaim Nachman Bialik infused the Hebrew language with fresh artistic life, giving it a renewed sense of flexibility and emotive power. Filmmaker Yair Qedar chronicles Bialik’s work and life, a lens through which to analyze the Jewish experience of the road from exile to home. Narrated by Chaim Topol, Bialik: King of the Jews uses stunning animation and beautifully adapted musical versions by Ninet Tayeb of Bialik’s poems. The film is a powerful monument to the resurgent victory of Hebrew and its most passionate champion.
88 mins | Israel | 2017
Director: Eliav Lilti
Perhaps best known for writing and directing the film classic Sallah Shabati, Ephraim Kishon is first and foremost a writer whose books and plays have been translated into over 40 languages and have earned him the Israel Prize. This captivating portrait of the legendary artist highlights his acerbic wit, playful approach to language and above all, his zest for life.
53 mins | France | 2011
Directors: William Karel, Livia Manera
This engaging and intimate documentary offers the rare chance to see the reclusive and thoughtful Roth share very personal reflections on his life and writing. When asked how his writing affects his family, he answers, “When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.” At the same time, we get to see him talk about his parents with great love and affection, especially as he recalls his attempt to prepare them for the release of Portnoy’s Complaint. A charming film that will probably move you to re-read his work with new insight.
46 mins | France, United States | 2010
Directors: Clara Kuperberg, Joelle Oosterlinck
Languages: French, English
Spend some time with comic book artist, and Maus creator, Art Spiegelman–along with his wife, New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly, and their children. In this intelligent and intimate portrait, Spiegelman tells us his story, as he evokes rich childhood memories as a son of Holocaust survivors. He reflects on his development into a key figure in the underground comics movement, the evolution of his seminal work, Maus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust-themed graphic novel, and more. A rewarding experience for both Spiegelman fans and newcomers to his work.
73 mins | Israel | 2014
Directors: Shaul Betser, Asaf Galay
Languages: English, Hebrew
“You won’t read the famed Yiddish language author the same way again” (Hollywood Reporter). In the mid-1960’s, Nobel Prize winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer established an army of more than forty female translators, who were vital sources of creative inspiration and helped expose his work to the world. This enchanting documentary shows the complex life of one of the world’s most celebrated literary figures through the eyes of the women who knew him best. Combining interviews with nine of his translators alongside exclusive archival footage, directors Shaul Betser and Asaf Galay have created an original and captivating look at the famous writer.
61 mins | Israel | 2015
Director: Ayelet Ofarim
Subtitle: English (Canada)
The Raven is a touching and exciting portrait of one of Israel’s most contradictory figures. Born in Odessa, Jabotinsky was a brilliant writer and passionate spokesperson for Russia’s ethnic minorities. Eventually refocusing his energies and skills to the Zionist cause, he established the controversial Revisionist Party. While Jabotinsky is often memorialized as a key founder of the Israeli far right, director Ayelet Ofarim presents a more complex portrait of his dynamic life and character, using stunning animation and readings from his brilliant works.