Spiritually and culturally, we have many ways to mourn and bless the dead. Some follow prescribed customs, others form new traditions with the passing of loved ones. The Mourner’s Kaddish, the Jewish prayer recited in honor of the deceased never mentions death or dying, but instead proclaims the greatness of G-d. It encourages reciters to not wallow in grief or ignore the impact of loss altogether. In fact, the word kaddish actually means sanctification in Aramaic, similar to the Hebrew word kadosh, or holy. This program of short films examines the metaphorical progression and three stages of Jewish mourning rituals—from Aninut to Shiva to Sheloshim—noting the passing of parents, grandparents, neighbors, strangers, and even a beached whale. Curated together, these beautiful lamentations also attest to how international artists sanctify a period of global grief with cinematic blessings. NOTE: Screens In Person + Virtually: Streaming window is 48 hrs after hit "play" and expires Sun. March 26 at 11:59pm.
Seven shorts curated by Warren Etheredge
[Virtual + Encore In-Person Screening]
THAT IS THE QUESTION | Eyal Tzadik, Yotam Kislev | Short Narrative | Israel | 2022 | Hebrew w/English subtitles | 17:32m | Shay works tirelessly with his father in as shady debt collection business. When they catch an undercover cop who owes them money, Shay is given the option to betray his father and get a second chance for a better life. Will he do it?
REQUIEM FOR A WHALE | Ido Weisman | Short Documentary | Israel | 2022 | Hebrew w/English subtitles | 15:20m | On a stormy night in early 2021, a whale’s body washed ashore on Israel’s Nitzanim beach. The film documents the strange and curious encounters between people and the carcass, from families and selfie-taking teens to journalists and autopsy officials. The rare interaction evokes a dialogue between life and death.
THE WALTZ | Yulia Ruditskaya | Animated Short | USA | 2022 | Yiddish w/English subtitles | 5m | A beautiful animated short film that brings to life a Yiddish poem by A. Lutzky.
THE ROCK COLLECTION | Maya Adelberg | Short Drama | USA | 2022 | English | 3m | A girl searches for the best stone as a gift for her father.
YOUR STREET (Deine Strasse) | Güzin Kar | Documentary Short | Switzerland | 2020 |German w/English subtitles | 7:28m | A featureless, desolate, and inconspicuous street on an industrial estate in Bonn, Germany, bears the name of a child. The public memorial is meant to commemorate a racially motivated terrorist attack but is consigned to no man’s land. This film explores the risk of collective amnesia.
THE RECORD | Jonathan Laskar | Animated Short | Switzerland | French w/English subtitles | 2022 | 8:37m | An antique instrument dealer receives a magical vinyl record from a traveler. With each obsessive listen, memories reemerge until one last and painful memory is revealed: how he got separated from his mother on the Swiss border during WWII.
DEMON BOX | Sean Wainsteim | Animated/Animated/Experimental Short | Canada | English | 14m | After festival rejections, a director revises his intensely personal short film about trauma, suicide, and the Holocaust, and transforms it into a painfully blunt and funny dissection of the film and of his life, ten years in the making.
Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF) is one of the largest and longest-running film festivals in the Pacific Northwest and one of the leading Jewish film festivals in the country. A cornerstone program of the Stroum Jewish Community Center (SJCC) and its Arts + Ideas Program, each spring SJFF brings people together from across Washington State—and virtually around the globe—to celebrate and showcase the vibrancy and diversity of Jewish and Israeli life through cinema. Year-round, SJFF and SJCC Arts + Ideas present a season of performing and visual arts, author and chef talks—in-person, livestreamed, and virtually—to build connections, unlock perspectives, engage the community, and uplift the human spirit. Follow us on Facebook / Twitter (@seattlejff) and Instagram (@sjcc.arts).
Tickets and more information at SeattleJFF.org + sjcc.org/arts.