This week the International Jewish Film Festival is serving up some tasty cinematic treats inspired by deli food, baked goods, apples, and a whole lot more. The 10 showcased films include a healthy mix of documentaries and feature films on everything from family to football. Here's a quick survey of the three film and food fans won't want to miss.
You can just look at Jerry Stiller and tell: Now there's a man who knows where to find a good deli. The 88-year-old comedian and father of Ben Stiller is just one of the many corned beef connoisseurs interviewed for Deli Man, a documentary about the rise and fall of traditional Jewish delicatessens and a profile of some of the last and brightest lights in the business. What you'll see: gorgeous plate lunches and sandwiches so tall they require a "jaw adjustment" to eat, piled with mounds of house-prepared meats. What you'll hear: stories from the trade about everything from family recipes to customers who can tell when the matzo ball soup is too salty just by looking at it. It's a feast for the eyes, ears, and soul. (Sunday, February 21st, 5:30p.m. in the Belz Social Hall at the Memphis Jewish Community Center)
Dough is an unlikely buddy movie and comic glimpse behind the scenes in a Jewish bakery. Jonathan Pryce plays Nat Dayan, a down-on-his-luck baker searching for a way to revitalize his London bakery. The key to his success turns out to be Ayyash, a teenage Muslim refugee from Darfur who accidentally drops a bag of marijuana into the challah dough. Next thing you know, the customers are lining up. (Tuesday, Feb. 16th, 7:30p.m. at the Malco Paradiso)
What's the biggest threat to the expansion of American-style football in Israel? Jewish mothers who worry about their sons playing such a violent sport. Paul Hirschberger's documentary Touchdown Israel is a fascinating look at how an American tradition has taken root in the Middle East, turning ex-IDF paratroopers, Israeli Jews, Arabs, and Christians into teammates. (Sunday, February 21st, 1p.m. in the MJCC Belz Theater)