Judaica, the Jewish film festival in Lisbon, Portugal, was held for the third time from March 4-8, 2015, with 23 films screened, including three Portuguese premieres.

 Third Jewish film festival Judaica in Lisbon


(Embassy of Israel, Lisbon)

Judaica, the Jewish film festival in Lisbon, Portugal, was held for the third time from March 4-8, 2015. In its most ambitious programming to date, a total of 23 films were screened:12 fiction feature films, including three Portuguese premieres, six documentaries, as well as short films.

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II was commemorated with two Portuguese premieres. From Germany came the opening film, "Labyrinth of Lies," following the research of an ambitious young attorney that culminated in the Auschwitz trials held in Frankfurt in the early 1960s, exposing the conspiracy of prominent German institutions in covering up Nazi crimes. The German-French co-production "Run Boy Run", based on book by Israeli writer Uri Orlev, itself based on his own experience as a Jewish boy in war-torn Poland, tells the true story of an 8-year-old Jewish boy who escapes the Warsaw ghetto in 1942 – a saga of faith and resilience before the horrors of the Nazi occupation.

Another Portuguese premiere was one of the most powerful films of last year, "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem," Israel’s candidate for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and nominated for a Golden Globe in the same category. The film creates a stifling narrative of a simple request for divorce – which in Israel can only be legitimized by a rabbinical court and with her husband’s consent.

Other films featured included the Canadian "Felix and Meira" "that revolves around love and renunciation in the Orthodox Jewish community of Montreal, and two of the strongest works of current Latin American cinema: the Venezuelan film "God’s Slave", which recreates the bombing attack on the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994; and "Mr. Kaplan", a Uruguayan comedy that tells the story of a quixotic old man from Montevideo who thinks (and dreams!) of having discovered a former Nazi leader refugee hiding at a beach bar.

The Jewish film festival will also make its first foray outside Lisbon, with screenings and other activities to be held in the town of Belmonte, near Portugal’s border with Spain, from May 7-10. Belmonte is home to some 300 descendants of Jews who survived the Inquisition by practicing their religion in secret, some of whom have since emerged from secrecy, worshiping today in a synagogue opened in 1996.