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Cannabis. "Kosher" kisses. Ed Asner.
These are some of the inspirations for the movies that will screen during the 2022 edition of Memphis' long-running International Jewish Film Festival, which begins this month and runs through most of February.
Last year's festival was online-only, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this year, the Morris and Mollye Fogelman International Jewish Film Festival — to give the event its full title — is making a cautious return to public spaces.
Now in its ninth year, the festival will begin and end with screenings at the Malco Paradiso. In between, eight feature films will be offered "virtually" to festival ticket-holders. The opening and closing night movies also will be made available online.
Devoted to new films from around the world with Jewish themes, the festival begins with a 7 p.m. Jan. 27 screening of "Greener Pastures," an Israeli comedy about a stir-crazy widower in a nursing home who attracts customers, a love interest and the police and the mafia when he creates a black market for his fellow residents' state-supplied medical cannabis.
The festival concludes almost a month later, on Feb. 24, with a 7 p.m. screening of Shirel Peleg's "Kiss Me Kosher," a Tel Aviv-set culture-clash romantic comedy in which a young Jewish woman falls for a German woman while her disapproving grandmother finds herself smitten by a Palestinian man.
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A few of the online films include "Powder Keg," a Danish drama inspired by the 2015 terrorist attacks in Copenhagen; "Mish Mish," a documentary about the Frenkel brothers, Jewish-Egyptian animators who in the 1930s created the Arab world's first hit cartoons; and "Tiger Within," which gives the late Ed Asner one of his starring roles. Scripted by Gina Wendkos (writer of "The Princess Diaries"), the film casts Asner as a Holocaust survivor who befriends a skinhead teen runaway (Margot Josefsohn.
"There truly is something for everyone," said festival director Marcy Stagner, who is Program Director of Cultural Arts, Adult Services, & Special Events at the Memphis Jewish Community Center, which organizes the Jewish Film Festival. "Whether documentary, comedy or drama, all the films are diverse and engaging."
A ticket to an in-person screening is $10. Virtual film screenings are available with household prices at $15. Festival series passes (which include a ticket to each in-person screening and access to all virtual screenings) are available for $130. Prices are discounted for MJCC members.
For tickets or more information, visit jccmemphis.org.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Jewish Film Festival returns with public screenings