It’s the dog days of summer! TJFF’s staff have selected these twelve binge-worthy titles for you to enjoy from home. So grab your popcorn, crank up the air conditioning, and start streaming! View the summer 2021 list here.
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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A NEW LIFE ON THE LAND
Who would have guessed that there is such a rich history of Jewish farmers in Canada? In the early twentieth century, Jews fleeing persecution and poverty in Eastern Europe came to Canada as homesteaders and built a Jewish life in Western Canada. Filmmaker Dov Okouneff (Montreal Jewish Memories) travels to the Laurentians in Quebec where descendants of farmers return to the former Jewish communities of Ste. Sophie/New Glasgow to attend High Holiday services. Filled with archival materials and personal stories of hardship and joy, this fascinating documentary explores an important aspect of Canadian Jewish history and identity. Watch it now!
THE 90 MINUTE WAR
After 70 years of failed attempts to secure peace, a hilarious solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is proposed: a soccer match to determine who can establish a state. Moshe Ivgy (Hunting Elephants) and Norman Issa (Arab Labor) play opposing coaches in wonderful performances that give a bit of repose from the dilemma in the Middle East. Watch it now!
THE 10TH MAN
In this wryly-comic film, it’s Erev Yom Kippur and the elderly congregation of an East End London synagogue is one man short of a Minyan. With time running out, the hunt is on for the 10th man. Watch it now!
An Israeli soccer fanatic (Moshe Ivgi), planning to attend the finals of the 1982 World Cup, is, instead, drafted to serve in Lebanon. When he’s seized by a PLO military unit, he ends up bonding with his equally soccer-mad captors. One of the most popular films from TJFF’s first year, this gripping comedic drama by Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride, Dancing Arabs) also stars Salim Dau (Oslo, Kiss Me Kosher) and Mohammad Bakri (Homeland). Watch it now!
A bittersweet coming-of-age film that is itself a love letter to the unshakeable bond between friends. Set in the pre-email era of the 1980s, young Elli, newly arrived to the U.S. from Israel, anxiously waits for letters from her best friend back home. Suffering from homesickness, language difficulties and rejection at school, Elli clings to her old life. Things brighten when she befriends Thuy, a Vietnamese immigrant who is also socially excluded at school. Based on director Ela Thier’s personal immigration experience, Foreign Letters is a film about prejudice, shame and the healing power of friendship. Set to a lovely soundtrack of Chava Alberstein songs, it is also a nostalgic trip to a bygone era of communication. Watch it now!
THE HEBREW HAMMER
A newly remastered version! Jew Power! The Hebrew Hammer, aka Mordecai Jefferson Carver (Adam Goldberg), swings into action when Santa Claus’ evil son, Damien (Andy Dick) decides to destroy Hanukkah. Allied with Muhammad Ali Paula Abdul Rahim (Mario Van Peebles), head of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, Hammer, the self described ‘baddest Hebe in the neighbourhood’, prepares to kick some gentile ass. Throwing political correctness out the window, and guaranteed to offend everyone, The Hebrew Hammer is one of the most outrageous spoofs to come along since The Producers. As the earlock-wearing, Manishewitz-swigging, leather-jacketed Hammer, Goldberg is a hoot, a tough-as-borscht super-hero who can’t handle the pressure of saving the Jewish world or going home for a Sabbath dinner. Sacrilegious, fearless and hysterically funny! Watch it now!
A JEWISH GIRL IN SHANGHAI
The first animated feature from China to deal with the Holocaust, this is based on the popular graphic novel of the same name. Rina and her little brother have fled to Shanghai, where they make friends with a young Chinese boy. This film offers a glimpse into Shanghai’s “Little Vienna,” where approximately 30,000 Jews sought refuge in WWII. Watch it now!
INVENTING OUR LIFE: THE KIBBUTZ EXPERIMENT
A fascinating and deeply comprehensive look at some of the most famous kibbutzim: Degania (the first, flagship kibbutz), Sasa, Ein Shemer, Hulda and others. In this film, not only do we have an opportunity to see and hear from some of the founders as they discuss the philosophies behind their creation, but also from second and third-generation kibbutzniks, who talk of growing up on a collective; some reveal their experiences to have been nurturing, while others talk of having felt cheated and constrained. Most importantly, however, the film describes the changing faces of these kibbutzim, which were designed for a pioneering country that no longer exists. In an attempt to survive, they travel an unfamiliar road to adapt. Is there hope for the future of those who thrive in a collective setting? Can technological sophistication and collective living exist side by side while providing a caring environment? Watch it now!
MADAME JACQUES ON THE CROISETTE
Every spring in Cannes, a group of elderly French Jewish women and men reflect on aging, loving later in life and their underlying bond of Yiddish culture. Breaking away from the group and its monotonous rhythm, Maurice searches for love with Mme. Jacques. Despite her more privileged past and the gossip among their friends, Maurice and Mme. Jacques decide to come together to share their lives as loving companions. Watch it now!
PASTRY, PAIN AND POLITICS
Veteran comedian Jack Carter portrays a curmudgeonly Jew whose hospitalization while on vacation in Switzerland puts him under the care of a bitter Palestinian nurse. His intolerant comments and her anti-Zionist jibes obscure the fact that these two people have more in common than they realize. An unsentimental and brave drama. Watch it now!
It’s the summer of 1966 and Bernie’s family is preparing to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. The exact day is chosen, despite the fact that the final of the World Cup of soccer is scheduled to take place at the same time, as everybody expects England will be eliminated. However, England keeps winning and winds up playing for the championship. Guess where most of the guests are that day – in front of the telly. Poor Bernie! This film skillfully recreates the time period and features terrific performances by all, including Helena Bonham Carter as Bernie’s mother. This is a wonderful comedy about family relationships. Watch it now!
A hilariously charming reconstruction of a Borscht Belt–era joke. Watch it now!