Sept. 25: “The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film,” an incredibly extensive showcase of great modernist photography and film from Russia running from the October Revolution through the onset of WWII. Among the major Jewish filmmakers represented in the series are the obvious giants, Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, but the program also promises lesser-known directors like Boris Barnet, Grigory Kozintsev and Yakov Protazanov.
Running through Feb. 7 at The Jewish Museum (Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org).
Sept. 25: The 53rd Annual New York Film Festival, which runs through Oct. 11, will feature work by several Jewish filmmakers including a first-ever collaboration between Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers, “Bridge of Spies.” Also on tap and eagerly awaited are new works from Chantal Akerman, Todd Haynes, Frederick Wiseman and Rebecca Miller, as well as a 15th anniversary screening of the Coens’ “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and the American premiere of the controversial Hungarian film, “Son of Saul.” Perhaps the most exciting of all, the Festival will show Marcel Ophüls’ woefully underappreciated “The Memory of Justice,” one of the most profound examinations of the Nuremberg Trial principles in action.
Alice Tully Hall, Walter Reade Theater, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and other venues in Lincoln Center and vicinity, filmlinc.com.
Oct. 7: “The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacekeepers,” directed by Richard Trank, the second half of the diptych that began with “The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers.” Again the main focus will be on the delightful Yehuda Avner, who died last year. Avner was present for some of the most important moments in Israeli history COMMA from the Six-Day War up to his retirement in 1995. He served as personal secretary and speechwriter to Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol, and as Israeli ambassador to Australia and the United Kingdom. And he is a sparkling storyteller.
Oct. 25: “The Unseen Holocaust: Recent Polish Films.” Since the fall of Communism, Polish artists have explored the realities of the Shoah with a candor that was largely impossible before 1989. Filmmakers have been particularly active in this area, and this series, which runs through Nov. 1, offers an impressive array of recent work. Films will be introduced by professor Stuart Liebman, who curated the series.
Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Plaza; 646- 437-4202, mjhnyc.org).
Nov. 4: “In Jackson Heights,” the latest epic of the everyday by Frederick Wiseman, examines the lively Queens neighborhood in which some 167 languages are spoken, with residents originally from virtually the entire globe.
Runs through Nov. 17 at Film Forum (209 W. Houston St., filmforum.org).
Nov. 5: The Other Israel Film Festival, now in its ninth year. At a time when Israel’s cultural minister is threatening strict political censorship of state-funded films, this event, which runs through Nov. 12, takes on greater significance than ever before.
JCC in Manhattan (76th Street and Amsterdam Ave., otherisrael.org).
Nov. 6: “What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy,” a documentary by David Evans. When this film played the Tribeca Film Festival this spring, I was impressed by the quiet intelligence of its writer and protagonist, human-rights lawyer Philippe Sands and the stubborn earnestness of Niklas Frank, son of the notorious Nazi war criminal Hans Frank. The pair spends much of the film hammering at the denials of guilt offered by Horst van Wächter, whose father was Hans’s second-in-command, Otto von Wächter. A thoughtful, low-key film.
Nov. 12: DOC-NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the country, returns for a busy week of non-fiction movies. In the past, offerings have included such Jewish-themed offerings as “Above and Beyond,” “Little White Lie,” “Unorthodox” and “My Father Evegeni.”
The IFC Center, SVA Theatre and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas will host. (For more information, docnyc.net)
Nov. 20: “Very Semi-Serious,” by Leah Wolchak. The New Yorker is the last bastion of single-panel cartoons, a unique and beloved art form, and Wolchak got pretty complete access to cartoon editor Bob Mankoff and his merry band of humorists for this documentary.
Theater TBA, but it will air on HBO starting on Dec. 7.
Dec. 18: “Son of Saul,” debut feature by Laszlo Nemes, a protégé of Bela Tarr. A source of considerable debate at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this harrowing and claustrophobic film depicts a day in the life of the Sonderkommandos at Auschwitz. Formally rigorous and dramatically devastating, the film essentially shows us his world in close-up with all the horror that implies.
Expect an extended run, at Film Forum (209 W. Houston St., filmforum.org).