What Is The Best Ever Jewish Film?


The UK Jewish Film Festival is excited to announce the first ever survey to establish what is the Best Ever Jewish Film, to coincide with the 22nd edition of the festival running from 8th-22nd November.

The festival’s campaign to encourage the public  to vote for their favourite Jewish film has begun and you can have your say via the festival’s website or through Facebook. Admired personalities are already choosing the movies that have most impressed them (see below).

From The Big Lebowski and Dirty Dancing to Son of Saul, we want to know your favourite, so get voting now. The definition of Jewish film for the purpose of the vote has been outlined as: any film whose content reflects or engages with, in part at least, Jewish life, themes or stories or Jewish sensibilities, language and comedy.

Voting will close on 1st November & the winner will be announced by BBC broadcaster Vanessa Feltz on 8th November at the festival’s Opening Night Gala of WORKING WOMAN.

Chief Executive of UK Jewish Film, Michael Etherton said: “This survey is a one-off opportunity to celebrate the wealth of films that have entered our cinematic lexicon – from outrageous Jewish comedies to some of the most powerful dramas of our time – all reflecting the incredible diversity of Jewish life and experience. Against a backdrop where antisemitism is increasingly being tolerated in Britain and across Europe I think film has an important role in countering this disturbing trend, bringing communities together and dispelling stereotypes and prejudice.

With the worldwide vote just underway, some famous faces have already been in touch to cast their vote:

Comedian Matt Lucas (Little Britain) named AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS as his favourite:

A witty, heart-breaking example of Malle at his best.

Director, Producer & Writer Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) says her Best Ever Jewish Film is BAR MITZVAH BOY:

“I loved Jack Rosenthal’s films because when I watched them growing up as girl, the world he created for British Jews spoke to me as a British Indian in the absence of anything else remotely relevant and touching. He was culturally inspiring – clearly examining a community he cherished from the inside out – and his work certainly made a mark on my film BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM.”

THE BAND’S VISIT is Actress Maureen Lipman’s (The Pianist) favourite Jewish film:

“Of all the films I’ve seen the one that remains in my mind’s eye is The Band’s Visit. I felt as if it were my personal discovery. It was As small, detailed and universal as a Jane Austen novel. The two principal actors- he with his sad camel’s face and she with that weary lost sexuality- were perfectly cast, restrained and seemed to have a delicate chemistry that most actors could never emulate. I am not surprised that it has translated into a TONY nominated Broadway musical and I can’t wait to see it.”

Screenwriter Dan Mazer (Borat) is keen to have what she is having and has named WHEN HARRY MET SALLY as the Best Ever Jewish Film, saying:

Although not specifically a ‘Jewish’ film, it is infused with an unmistakably New York Jewish sensibility via both the peerless Nora Ephron’s extraordinary script and Rob Reiner’s sublime direction. It is a film that is simultaneously ridiculously funny whilst being utterly authentic. It is personal yet universal, specific to a time and place, but also timeless in it’s themes and humour. Almost every scene would stand alone as a perfectly polished comedy sketch, yet they combine and meld perfectly to form a totally satisfying and compelling narrative, led by two completely real, delightful, hilarious but flawed lead characters who give the greatest performances of their careers.  

It does the film disservice to call it a romantic comedy, with all the baggage that such a moniker suggests. It is a brilliant and inspiring comedy that warms your heart without feeling saccharine and not only survives repeated viewings, but gets better with age and is as relevant and current now as it was when it was made, It is hard to make comedy timeless, but in this as in so many other things, “When Harry Met Sally” succeeds.”

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


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