To mark Israels 60th anniversary, the SFJFF has assembled a typically controversial slate of movies that confirms its status as the most bravely political film event on the local calendar. (That approach has kept the festival profoundly relevant throughout its 28 years, but hasnt always endeared it to the local Jewish establishment.) The harrowing doc To See If Im Smiling (screening today at 4 p.m.) centers on six women soldiers who served in the territories and the traumatic effects on their psyches, while Praying in Her Own Voice (July 31) spotlights a quite different group of women warriors: Orthodox Jews clamoring for their right to daven out loud at the supremely holy Western Wall. Frankly, its rather amazing how such a small country can accommodate so many wildly different perspectives its our good fortune that the SFJFF makes room for so many of them.
The festival continues at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco Aug. 2-10 and elsewhere in the Bay Area through Aug. 11.
July 24-31, 2008