Schmader dumped a couple Seattle Jewish Film Festival passes on my desk last week because I'm clearly the most Jewy person in the office. So Jewy, in fact, that even though I wasn't really interested in going, my daughter and I took in a free film Saturday night because hey, such a bargain!
Also, a very pleasant surprise. We saw Au cas ou je n'aurais pas la palme d'or, a French film about a struggling filmmaker—ten years since making his first (and last) feature film—who upon discovering that he may have a life-threatening illness embarks on a quest to make one last film (about a struggling filmmaker facing a life-threatening illness who embarks on a quest to make one last film). It's funny and sweet and totally absorbing in a quirky, mind-bending sorta way. Director Renaud Cohen, playing director Simon Cohen, surrounds himself with a supporting cast of family members playing his family members in a film within a film that constantly leaves the audience wondering where the autobiography stops and the fiction begins. We loved it. But then, I've always been into the Pirandello play-within-a-play sorta thing, so it was right up my alley.
And it wasn't really very Jewy. There were some Jewish themes, and maybe a handful of jokes that only a Jew could truly appreciate, but it was no more a "Jewish" film than your typical Woody Allen movie. It's more a film about filmmaking than anything else.
Unfortunately, the festival ended Sunday, so not much good this positive review will do for anybody. But next time the Seattle Jewish Film Festival rolls around, don't be put off by the ethnic focus. If Au cas ou je n'aurais pas la palme d'or is any example, it will be chock full of films with broader appeal.