JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival Unveils Once-Forgotten Films

February 5th, 2014 by

Early 20th century actress Pola Negri

Film festivals are not only enjoyable, but they give us the chance to examine pieces that may have not held up well with time, or from independent artists on the rise. The former is the case for the once-forgotten 1918 silent movie called “The Yellow Ticket,” which was the Saturday-night opener for this year’s JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival. Get those used vehicles, Cincinnati, as the festival continues through February 27.

Often, as it is here for The Yellow Ticket’s 8 p.m. screening at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, contemporary musicians have been commissioned to play new scores during silent-film screenings. Renowned New York violinist Alicia Svigals, who founded the Grammy-winning band the Klezmatics, is performing the score she composed for the film alongside pianist Marilyn Lerner. The two have already teamed up for this in Washington, Chicago, New York and elsewhere. The Klezmatics have been at the forefront of turning klezmer music, the folk music of East European Jews, into modern-day concert music. Her score reflects on it, but also has some expansions.

“I work in other genres, too,” she said in a phone interview. “So there are also some early 20th Century Eastern European folk-based classical sounds in there. And Marilyn is an improviser, so I wrote very much with her in mind. I know how she improvises around melodies and rhythmic concepts, so I left some open space for her to do things with the musical ideas I notated.”

Copies of this film long were feared destroyed in World War II, and we are excited that it is getting such exposure now! Some other features you can catch at the festival are:

Ameer Got His Gun
(7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, Kenwood Theatre).
Besa: The Promise
(7:30 p.m. Feb. 18, Kenwood; 1 p.m. Feb. 26, Mayerson JCC).
The Ceremony
(7:30 p.m. Feb. 19, Cinemark Oakley Station).
(7:30 p.m. Feb. 27, Cinemark).
(7:30 p.m. Monday, Cinemark).
Kaddish for a Friend
(8 p.m. Thursday, Kenwood; 1 p.m. Feb. 20, Mayerson JCC).
The Zigzag Kid
(3:30 p.m. Feb. 16, Cinemark).

A pass for the festival is $75, with discounts for JCC members. Check it out if you can!