Jewish International Film Festival

The Plus Ones Guide

Celebrating a long and proud 24-year history of Jewish film festivals in Australia, JIFF is back again in 2015 bigger than ever. 60 Australian premiere features, documentaries and TV series from Israel and around the globe are featured this year. The Jewish International Film Festival celebrates Israeli and Jewish-themed films of all genres from across the globe. Here are The Plus Ones top 10 films to check out.

:: FELIX AND MEIRA (Canada) ::
Meira is a Hasidic wife and mother consumed by the strict rules of her society. Felix is an eccentric French Canadian man mourning his wealthy father. When the two meet in a bakery, an unexpected friendship is born. It soon blossoms into something more as they open one another's eyes to the possibilities that lie beyond their worlds. Canada's official entry for the 2016 Oscars.

:: Atomic Falafel (Germany, Israel, NZ) ::
An absurdist satire about a very timely issue. A girl from Israel and a girl from Iran are worried their countries may be about to go to war. Deciding that it's up to them to thwart this, the girls work together on social media as they leak their respective countries' nuclear secrets on Facebook.

::Experimenter (USA)
Featuring an all-star cast that includes Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder. In 1961, Yale University psychology professor Stanley Milgram was determined to find out how and why people could be pushed to extremes. The son of Holocaust survivors, he was driven to create the obedience experiments: how far will ordinary people go if commanded to by an authority figure?

:: Closer to The Moon (Romania) ::
Disillusioned with the state of post-war Communist Romania, five Jews who fought in the resistance against the Nazis stage an elaborate bank heist by convincing everyone at the scene of the crime that they are filming a movie.

:: Ladies First (Israel) ::
Forty-eight women, including comedians, actors, singers, celebrities and stand-up comics gather to tell the filthiest chauvinist jokes they know. Hilarious, revealing and insightful, there is no funnier way to discover what it's like to be a modern woman in Israel.

:: CENSORED VOICES (Israel) ::
A compelling documentary about war stories that were censored for 50 years, until now. This film premiered at Sundance, and won an Ophir Award (Israeli Oscar) for Best Documentary.

:: The Voice of Peace (France) ::
This documentary takes us into this peaceful and groundbreaking act of rock & roll rebellion. For 20 years, a pirate radio station based on a ship in international waters off the coast of Tel Aviv broadcast messages of peace and love, as well as great music, to millions across the Middle East and Europe.

:: The Physician (Germany) ::
In 11th-century London, young Christian Rob Cole is dazzled by the skills of a Jewish physician. But to study at Avicenna's school, Rob must disguise himself as a Jew. Based on the popular novel by Noah Gordon, this adventurous period film features a cast that includes Tom Payne (Inheritance), Stellan Skarsgård (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Olivier Martinez (Revenge).

:: Sacred Sperm (Israel) ::
One who spills his seed literally kills his sons, says one rabbi. So how far are these men willing to go to control their natural urges? Filmmaker Ori Gruder grapples with how to talk to his 10-year-old son about sex and along the way reveals the occasionally shocking window into a world that is almost never shown.

:: Einstein in the Holy Land (Israel) ::
In 1923, Albert Einstein visited Palestine, travelling to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It was a visit that would have a profound impact on the legendary scientist, who struggled with an inner conflict: he was a Zionist, but one who intensely disliked nationalism. This documentary, based on Einstein's personal travel diary, presents the world with the first-ever insight into Einstein's thoughts during his trip to the Holy Land.

- Tomas Zagoda

Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda

The Jewish International Film Festival' runs on selected dates across Australia and New Zealand.

Sydney: 28th October – 18th November

Melbourne: 4th November – 29th November

Perth: 31st October, 1st and 8th November

Auckland: 14th, 15th and 22nd November

Brisbane: 21st, 22nd and 29th November

For more information and tickets please visit:

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of JIFF.