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In 27th year, international Jewish film festival to explore ‘Power of Love’

Neta Riskin (left) and Golshifteh Farahani in ‘Shelter’ (Beta Cinema)

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” These words of Jimi Hendrix could well be the introduction to the 27th annual Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, which will run Jan. 11-21 with 20 films, says Anne Lowe, film festival committee member. The theme of this festival is “The Power of Love,” focusing on films that explore the transformative power of love in our lives.

The 2018 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival will kick off at The Loft Cinema on Jan. 11 with “Shelter.” In this subtle thriller, a female Mossad agent is sent to protect a female Lebanese informer in a safehouse in Hamburg, Germany. The relationship that evolves between the women is tested with the threat of terror, deception, and a surprising turn of fate.

Most films will be shown at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, with SaddleBrooke and the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation as additional venues. A complete schedule and tickets are available at or by calling the J at 299-3000.

Additional highlights include:

Hedy Lamarr is profiled in “Bombshell” (Courtesy Tucson Jewish Community Center)

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” (2017), which reveals how Lamarr’s love of mechanics and technology trumped her incredible beauty, allowing the actress to contribute to the future peace of the world, a true gift of love. “Bombshell” will be shown Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 5 p.m. at the J.

The fictional psychological drama, “1945” (2016), screening on Friday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. at the J, shows what happens when a town abandons love of one another, and instead heeds the love of material wealth.

“The Freedom to Marry” (2016) is a moving tribute to the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry. It deftly explores the love of couples for each other and for their children. Through their steadfast love, they change the nation, one state at a time, and ultimately, win recognition from the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Freedom to Marry” will be shown Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the J.

Who can forget their own love of that literary scamp, Curious George? In the documentary “Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators” (2017), we are transported to France, where a Jewish couple escape Hitler’s wrath on a bicycle, with the transcript and artwork of “Curious George” in the bicycle’s basket. Their love for each other and for their little monkey brings beauty and imagination to the screen. “Monkey Business” will be shown Sunday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. at the J.

A scene from the documentary, “The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfred Israel” ((Courtesy Tucson Jewish Community Center)

The Arizona Jewish Post will be the presenting sponsor of “The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel” (2016) on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at the J. Wilfrid Israel, owner of the largest department store in Berlin and a member of one of Germany’s most prominent Jewish families at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, helped save thousands of Jewish children through the Kindertransport operation and secured escape for hundreds of his employees and their families. Filmmaker Yonatan Nir, whose “My Hero Brother” enthralled audiences at the 2016 TIJFF, searches for the story of this mysterious hero and the reasons for his disappearance from history.

Partnering with the 2018 Tucson Desert Song Festival to celebrate the life and music of conductor, composer, pianist, and educator Leonard Bernstein, the TIJFF will present the 1954 classic, “On the Waterfront,” on Saturday, Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. at the J. Bernstein wrote the only original film score in his career for this movie. His daughter, Jamie Bernstein, will be at the screening to talk about her father and how sharing the love of music can transform us all.

The festival will close on Sunday, Jan. 21 at the J with a brunch at 10:30 a.m. followed by the film “Monsieur Mayonnaise” at 11:30 a.m. In this film, Australian artist and film-maker Philippe Mora investigates the secret past of his father’s clandestine role in the French resistance in WWII and his mother’s miraculous escape enroute to Auschwitz. Creating an audacious comic book about his parents, this road movie features artists, real life heroes, Nazi villains … and baguettes with lashings of French mayonnaise! Tickets for the brunch, which must be purchased separately, are $18.

Ticket prices for the festival include the season pass, $118; kickoff film in SaddleBrooke, $5; opening night at The Loft, $10; general admission, $9; JCC member/senior/student, $8; and a 6-pack, $45.