12.01.2023 - 23.01.2023 Events, Film, Polish-Jewish Relations, Visual Arts

New York Jewish Film Festival 2023

January 12-23, 2023
Film at Lincoln Center

The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center are delighted to continue their partnership to bring you the 32nd annual New York Jewish Film Festival, taking place January 12–23, 2023, presenting films from around the world that explore the Jewish experience.

The 2023 edition will feature in-person screenings at the Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, NYC, and two virtual offerings. The NYJFF line-up showcases 29 wide-ranging and exciting features and shorts (21 features and 8 shorts), including the latest works by dynamic voices in international cinema, as well as the world premiere of a new 4K restoration of the groundbreaking 1997 documentary A Life Apart: Hasidism in America by Oren Rudavsky and Menachem Daum.


Obrazek posiada pusty atrybut alt; plik o nazwie Personal-Instrument-1-1-1600x900-c-default-1024x576.jpg
Krzysztof Wodiczko: The Art of Un-War

Krzysztof Wodiczko: The Art of Un-War (2022) by dir. Maria Niro
USA, English, French, Italian, and Japanese with English subtitles, 61 minutes
Q&A with director Maria Niro and film subject, artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, moderated by Darsie Alexander, Senior Deputy Director and Susan & Elihu Rose Chief Curator, The Jewish Museum

Buy Tickets Saturday, January 14 at 7:00 PM

Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko has devoted his career to work that calls attention to the inhumanity of war, imploring us to dismantle and change our perceptions of human conflict so we can drive toward peace—a concept he calls “Un-War.” Now 79 years old, Wodiczko is the subject of a compelling documentary by Maria Niro. The film pays tribute to his artistry and political commitment, demonstrating how his large-scale works, which include slide and video projections onto the sides and facades of major architectural sites and monuments, serve to disrupt the complacency of a public increasingly inured to violence. Delving into Wodiczko’s extensive array of stirring installations as well as his own past traumas—which include his having been born in 1943 Warsaw, two days before the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as well as growing up in a Communist Poland still feeling the tragic aftereffects of World War II—Niro’s film also features interviews with fellow artists and activists in its pursuit of the heart and soul of a major artist whose work will, unfortunately, never be irrelevant.

A Letter to Mother © National Center For Jewish Film

A Letter to Mother (1939) by dirs. Joseph Green, Leon Trystand
Poland, Yiddish with English subtitles, 35mm, 106 minutes
Q&A with Lisa Rivo and Sharon Rivo, co-directors of the National Center for Jewish Film

Buy Tickets Sunday, January 15 at 12:00 PM

A classic of Yiddish cinema, A Letter to Mother (also known as The Eternal Song) was among the final Yiddish films made in Poland before the Nazi invasion. Set in the years leading up to World War I, Joseph Green and Leon Trystand’s film follows Dobrish (Lucy German), a mother of three children trying to provide for her family in a town in Poland (now Ukraine), after her husband moves to America. Struggling against the ever-increasing challenges of poverty and war, Dobrish and her children finally strike out for New York with help from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in the hopes of rebuilding their lives for a better future. The most financially successful Yiddish film of its era, and a hit in New York, where it opened just two weeks after Germany’s blitzkrieg over Poland, the landmark A Letter to Mother is a moving work of traditional melodrama and a metaphor for the displacements facing European Jews in 1939. Film restoration by The National Center for Jewish Film.

Preceded by
Jewish Life in Lwow (1939) by dirs. Shaul Goskind and Yitzhak Goskind
Yiddish with English subtitles, Poland, 1939, 10 min

This rare 1939 portrait of the daily lives of Jews in Lwow, Poland, now Lviv, Ukraine, home to a thriving Jewish community before World War II, is one of a handful of surviving films from Warsaw-based filmmakers Shaul Goskind and Yitzhak Goskind. Full of vibrant images of stylish women, thriving markets, parks, and promenades, this short documentary captures a prosperous world on the precipice of obliteration by the coming Nazi invasion.

March ’68 Courtesy of Miguel Nieto

March ’68 (2022) by dir. Krzysztof Lang
Poland, Polish with English subtitles, 115 minutes
Q&As with director Krzysztof Lang

Buy Tickets Monday, January 16 at 2:30 PM
Buy Tickets Tuesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM

In this gripping coming-of-age story set against the volatile backdrop of late-1960s Communist Warsaw, Hania, a student at the state theater school, experiences political awakening and her own personal revolution. At first, Hania is blinded by love, falling intensely for technology student Janek, whom she meets at a play opening; gradually, however, she comes to realize that her fellow Jewish citizens—including Hania’s doctor father—are being persecuted in a series of antisemitic purges conducted in response to the hate-fueled rhetoric of Poland’s leader, Władysław Gomułka. When her family decides to emigrate for their own safety, Hania doesn’t want to join them, and instead tries to build a life with Janek. However, things spiral out of control, leading to a powerful climax set during the infamous events of March 1968. Inspired by a moment in time that shaped the social consciousness of director Krzysztof Lang, the film depicts the momentous collision of history and romance.

The New York Jewish Film Festival is made possible by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media. Generous support is also provided by Wendy Fisher and the Kirsh Foundation, The Liman Foundation, Sara and Axel Schupf, Louise and Frank Ring, Mimi and Barry Alperin, the Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation, Amy Rubenstein, and Steven and Sheira Schacter. Additional support is provided by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, Villa Albertine, and the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

Selection Team
The films for the 2023 New York Jewish Film Festival have been selected by Rachel Chanoff, Director, THE OFFICE performing arts + film; Lisa Collins, filmmaker, digital journalist/writer/editor, programmer, and events/film producer; Indigo Sparks, performance artist and producer; and Aviva Weintraub, director, New York Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Museum with Dan Sullivan, assistant programmer, Film at Lincoln Center as advisor, and assistance from Ana Maroto, film festival coordinator, the Jewish Museum.

Stuart Hands, Toronto Jewish Film Festival; Jessica Rosner; Isaac Zablocki, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan; Marlene Josephs, Linda Lipson, Volunteers; Ksenia Filipovich, Reese Neal, Interns.

For those interested in additional information about NYJFF titles, please refer to the Print Source guide.

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